So I suppose Ludo Lunch was a point of convergence – Family life and professional life in one place. Back in September Simon Roth and I joked about running a relaxed family friendly conference about games, to be held on picnic blankets with baked goods. We were stood in London South Bank University for Women in Games 2014, reminiscing about when Game Camp was help in Paypal’s HQs.
Anyway sometimes silly ideas follow through and Ludo Lunch was born (https://ludolunch.wordpress.com/) – And it was lovely – We held it on Christchuch’s Colleges Meadow in the center of Oxford, it was sunny, people brought snacks to share, someone passed around choc ices and we had talks and workshops at a very relaxed pace. Actual, since Will didn’t turn up it was entirely female speakers; running interactive fiction workshops talking about research, or localisation (all about the text box size) and at the same time a board game jam, and games being played.
Since it was family friendly, people brought their children – we had bubbles and balloons, craft items etc and time again I had people coming up and thanking me for hosting something everyone could some to. As an industry that’s growing up – that means there’s needs to be more events where people can bring the family – not hidden away in pubs or in stuffy conference centers all the time. It also means conferences need childcare options if they are going to stretch over the weekend – as they increasingly do (The Recent Google I/O Conference in London had this) . I’ve seen the difference in the people that turn up to Afternoon Play (The board game group I co run in Birmingham) by hosting that in coffee shops, not pubs. That also has a well attended annual picnic. I think the promise of baked goods is the way forward (See also Gamerbake)
I spoke about what having a baby had done to my ability to play strategy games and how at the time when I was most bored, with waiting around for hospital appointments (or indeed in hosiptal) I had the most free time I’ve ever had, but no one in the games industry thought that maybe advertising their games to me was a good idea. There’s a reason King.com have so many players and I hope there’s still a place for me in the games industry when I next have chance to play something.
Will we host another one? Probably – I think Simon calculated it cost about £15 to put on – and that was mainly the raspberries for his cupcakes. I also hope other people do similar things – head outside, bring the family and don’t worry about the wi-fi password is for once…
Update – There’s a nice article – The benefits of a family-friendly conference at Ludolunch