This weekend at London Games Festival the tables turn as a group of game journalists become developers, while the devs grab their notepads to report on it all. It’s officially being called the Developer and Press Swap Up, a 48-hour game jam at the central London office of UKIE. From 5pm Friday til 5pm on Sunday both groups will be working away to meet strict deadlines: One group to deliver a game, the other to report on it. Chaos will most likely ensue.
For some it is a chance to fulfill a childhood ambition, particularly Spilt Milk Studio’s Andrew John Smith. He said:
“When I got an email asking if I wanted to be a journalist for a day or two I thought well yeah that sounds like fun to me! When I was a kid I always thought it would be great to write about games, as many of us do, and as a designer you have to write a lot anyway with documentation. So from that perspective it’s quite interesting. I know it’s not working for a real company or anything, but I’ll still suspend my disbelief and have some fun with it and see if it lives up to what I thought it might be.”
“There are a lot of us indie types here. I think we’ve been chosen as we tend to become quite chummy with the press, the big guys [in game development] tend to have to be a bit stricter but we’re free to say what we like to the press. So over the past few years I’ve become good friends with some of these journalists that are going to become game devs for the weekend.”
Though he is excited at the chance to see game development from a different perspective, Andrew is also a little hesitant about getting things right:
“We’ve got some rough assignments to do – Like an introductory piece, a preview and then a review on the last day. And I think there’s a little feature to do over the two days. Part of me is thinking I’d get most out of it if I approached it as a designer looking at things from the other side of the fence, and use my expertise to ask questions about what I want to read about in the press. If I come out of it and have asked a question that gives an insightful answer then I’ll be quite proud of that. But mainly I’m just looking to not screw it all up! I can type quite fast, so hopefully that helps.”
As for whether he would sacrifice his journalistic integrity for an exclusive or some freebies, he seemed rather open to the idea: “Oh I dunno! It’ll depend what they’re offering me I suppose! Maybe I’ll do an expose on them trying to sway my opinion instead.
You can follow the Developer and Press Swap Up on Keith Stuart’s brilliant live blog here, and through the hashtag #journodevswap on Twitter.