On March 17th I found myself in Chester, walking into the Pitcher and Piano bar in search of a group of people for the (originally titled) Northern Game Talkery Time 2. Not long after asking a member of staff where the meeting should be taking place was I approached by Samuel Mottershaw (of Toxic Games), the event organiser. I was soon lead over to our reserved area and increased our group number to a strong 4 (from here the number did quickly increase beyond this).
At this point I would like to state that I wasn’t sure what to expect from attending the meet-up. I’m relatively new to working on games, this being the first meet-up I would have attended, and the fact it was originally set up to get those from the North-East of England in attendance and I had travelled from Glasgow; part of me was expecting to be laughed out. I instantly felt at ease being introduced to those already there, and continued to receive friendly greetings as other came to join our group.
Talk started by concentrating on the event itself. Obviously, everyone would like to see as many people as possible attending, so the first topic was about spreading the word of this monthly meet-up. It was quickly agreed that Twitter is pretty much the center of communication these days, especially amongst those within the games industry, which lead to hashtag talk, and the idea of playing on film titles for the event name (note the title of this post and a bit further down to see how this idea has been implemented).
Over the course of the evening I couldn’t help but be amazed by how approachable everyone was, the constant banter that anyone was welcome to jump in on at any time, and the fact that everyone appeared to give everyone else the same amount of respect and attention (including my own newbie thoughts, ideas, and random banter). It almost had the air of a group of age-old friends getting together after not seeing each other for years.
Time seemed to pass all too quickly and most of the group had to leave a little bit prematurely. Everyone eventually said their goodnights and left in high spirits, with the thoughts that the next meet-up would only be a month away. Even though I ended up spending a painfully cold night standing at a bus stop til 6am waiting for my bus home, I still feel it was worth it to get to meet some great guys, and to spend some time discussing games and the projects we are each currently working on.
This is a meeting for those based in the North-East of England but, as has been proven, anyone working with games is welcome no matter where you’re travelling from. The next meet-up has been arranged for April 21st, titled ‘Game Dev North Meetup 3: Dev With a Vengence’, and details can be found here. Also, if anyone is interested in keeping up to date about the meet-ups, the official Twitter account can be found here.
Sadly I won’t be in attendance for the next meet-up, what with the distance I have to travel, but I will definitely be keeping contact with those I met this time around and I will be sure to attend another as soon as I can (and this time I will remember to pick crashing on a sofa over standing in a freezing bus stop). Also, this experience has definitely got me looking at attending game meet-ups closer to home – GameDevEd anybody?