The Most Awesome Games Event In The World. Ever.

It may seem like there’s a LOT going on in August.  EIF is coming, Dare is rapidly Protoplying (yes, Protoplying) into something of real significance and now, the Turing Festival has a half day of interactive entertainment thought leaders, luminaries and speakers, all appearing in Edinburgh on the 23rd of August, for the astonishing price of £15.

The inaugural Turing Festival took place in 2011 and was, hands down, the best digital media and technology event we’ve ever been to.  Now, in 2012, for the centennial of Alan Turing’s birth, the event is back and offering far more awesome than we really deserve.

Covering a huge range of topics, from science, education, medicine, hacking, security – and of course games, the Turing is the first event to explore the ways in which technology is fundamentally changing society, culture, the media and art.

In the interest of full disclosure, we should probably point out that the games component was curated and put together by your editor, so you know that it’s going to be i) fascinating ii) controversial iii) useful iv) fun and v) worth your fucking while.

So who’s appearing?  Brace yourselves for this line-up…

Keynote – Ernest Adams – What Video Games Can Do For Us (and What They Can’t): Separating the Reality from the Hype.
So much hype surrounds video games that it is often difficult to separate their real strengths from wishful thinking. In this short, energetic talk, longtime game designer Ernest Adams takes a look at some of the exciting things taking place on the margins of video gaming that just might change our world (and a few things that won’t).
Mark Sorrell – “Everythingification” or “Will It Blend?” – The General Theory of Successful Media Hybrids
Gamification. Does it work? If it does, how does it work? If it doesn’t why not? Taking that as a starting point, how can the failures and successes of gamification teach us how to bring the strengths of disparate media forms and business models together in ways that create stronger, fitter, new forms? 
Colin Anderson – Sustainable Creative Businesses: Where the Creative Process meets Scientific Method
Creative industries, such as film, television, books and games, are notoriously hit driven, with the majority of companies either going out of business before they have a hit or failing to repeat their success once they achieve it.  But there are exceptions – companies that have delivered hits repeatedly over years and sometimes decades, so it’s clearly possible.  If it’s possible, why are these companies so rare?  What valuable lessons can we learn from them?  And how can we apply these lessons ourselves to make our creative businesses more sustainable?
Tom Armitage – Systemic Media for a Systemic Age
Society in the 21st century is increasingly moving away from an infrastructure of direct action, to one of layered systems. These interconnected structures often seem strange and foreign – but we’ve played with interconnected systems for thousands of years. Games are what Eric Zimmerman has called “systemic media”: they are a native cultural form to this systemic age. What are the ways games teach us about the interconnectedness of things: how to understand it, and how to live within it?
Rob Fahey – 
“Videogames have spent much of the past 20 years mired in a tedious and seemingly endless controversy over violent content. It’s over; the medium’s advocates won. That’s a good thing not because it ends the debate over the social responsibilities and cultural influence of videogames, but because now that debate can finally begin, freed of the misconceptions and hysteria of tabloid shock headlines. Today’s videogames reach a wider audience and display more cultural diversity than ever before, but what role can games play in the cultural mix which surrounds us? As games grow up from a troubled adolescence, is there really potential for us to make games that enrich our lives and improve our world?”
Panel, chaired by Euan Mackenzie – Where next?  What the Future Holds For Interactive Media
In which our speakers explore the challenges facing the interactive sector as it continues to evolve and consider the opportunities this ongoing evolution is creating for creators and consumers alike.
This is a morning, ladies and gentlemen, which is not just for developers and creators, but for every individual, company and organisation involved in interactive media in the next five years.  That’s pretty much everyone.
The Turing Festival games event will shine a spotlight of truth into an industry which has been insular, isolated and incestuous for far too long.  This is not about the ‘games industry, talking to the games industry about the games industry’.  This is a valuable and unique insight into one of the most rapidly evolving areas of the creative industries in the world today.
Tickets, as we pointed out, are a staggeringly reasonable £15.  The event takes place in Appleton Tower at Edinburgh University on August 23rd.

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