Recently I travelled to Europe for four weeks as a post-graduation celebration trip. It was fantastic. I had a good mix of adventure and touristy visits. Everything from Museums to biking through small towns of France, to visiting friends in Berlin, and meeting new friends along the way. Most importantly though, I got to attend the Netherlands Game Developers Festival (or NLGD Festival).
It was an amazing conference that had a large focus on Alternate Reality Games and Urban Games. It was fun and I even got to attend the Game Design session that spanned two of the afternoons. One for design, one for play. My partners and I got to take home the trophy for “Most Played” game. It was very neat to see what was happening abroad as far as games. Netherlands also has a large serious games community developing games that teach you everything from English to Project Management.
It was quite a bit smaller than GDC, but had an enthusiastic group of developers attending.
Museum of Musical Instruments
One other worthy mention for my trip was the Museum of Musical Instruments in Brussels, Belgium. This is a great example of a smart use of digital media. In the Museum they give you wireless headphones to wear. You walk in and find cases upon cases of musical instruments. When you walk up to each case you suddenly hear the sound of the musical instrument in front of you. As you walk around the room the music changes to each instrument, so you spend the next few hours wandering around hearing music of all varieties. A strange experience is to quickly walk down an aisle and hear the music rapidly change from Classical to bagpipes to rock to drums to panpipes all in the course of a few seconds.
I would love to use that technology for a real-world game.