Santa Cruz Retreat for Analog Play
June 27, 10am – 6pm
Kresge Town Hall, UC Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA, USA

I’m joining luminary game designers Heather Logas and Squinky to help organize an event in June called the Santa Cruz Retreat for Analog Play (SCRAP). The event follows the Foundations of Digital Games conference in Monterrey, and we’re hoping to get some of the researchers and practitioners from the conference to participate, as well as the rich and diverse games community of Santa Cruz and the bay area to make games with us in redwoods.

I love game jams, and work very hard to incorporate inclusivity practices into all of the events I organize. Still, there are a lot of things inherent to the structure of jams and hacks that make it difficult for certain groups to participate. For example, a 48 hour sprint is difficult for parents to work around. The competitive, entrepreneurial focus of “hacks” make them intimidating for beginners, and the culture of such events often make them hostile toward minority groups. And all of these events presume a certain level of specialized skill, usually technical skill. But none of these things must be the case.

You don’t have to be a programmer to make a game.

In many ways, we’re designing SCRAP around the idea of an un-hack. It’s not competitive. It’s not technical. We start and end at a reasonable time. Kids can participate. There won’t be VCs lurking around to “recruit talent.” It’s just going to be a group of friendly folks making cool and interesting games. We want the people who normally don’t participate in jams for one reason or another to feel welcome at SCRAP.

We’re particularly interested in analog games in part because the barrier to entry is lower, but also to emphasize the value of non-digital games. We want to bring folks together to create awesome experiences and figure out how to express artistic ideas through play.

Tickets are free, but space is limited, so we urge folks to sign up soon. We value your voice in games.

We need your voice.