More recent talks can also be found at my professional site.
The Coded World
A talk about technology education for Radio 4's Four Thought strand: what living in a world of code means for thinking, and how you can teach the skills necessary to coexist with the architecture of computation - looking back on a year of "learning to code", from Code Club to "Computer Science In Schools".
Making Things You Don’t Know How To Make
A talk for Brighton Mini Maker Faire about what making feels like - especially things you don't always know how to make.
Making Friends: Toys, Toying and Toymaking
Drawing a thread through what, it turns out, has been a lifetime first shaped by toymaking, and then spent making toys in idle moments, this talk looked at woodwork, Markov chains, state-machines and Twitter bots, to examine the values of toys and toymaking to 21st-century creators. I'm quite proud of it. You can listen to by clicking through.
Games: Systemic Media for a Systemic Age
The 21st century is one in which society increasingly moves away from an infrastructure of direct action, to one of layered systems. Those systems are built out of many materials: hardware; software; urban infrastructure; politics; morals; people. 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 one of the many native cultural forms to this systemic age. This talk examines the ways systems exist in games, and their value in understanding a systemic world. What are the ways games teach us about the interconnectedness of things: how to understand it, and how to live within it?
Dying and living to tell the tale
A short personal history of dying in videogames: a medium where death is common, and lives are plural but rationed. Why is it that "dying" such a common metaphor in games - even supposedly non-violent ones? Does it have any meaningful significance compared to the process of death in the real world? Delivered as part of the Southbank Centre's Festival of Death.
Some notes on games design (for designers)
A talk exploring games as a form of interaction design, for an audience of designers. I'd later "flip" this talk and deliver its mirror at LIFT.
Hacking on Making Art
A short talk from Culture Hackday London, suggesting that the hackers at the weekend think about hacking on making art itself, rather than just hacking around arts data. In it, I look at technology as a material for artists, and touch on the weird new materials available to technological artists, such as the network.
Things Rules Do
A talk to a literate - but not necessarily games-savvy audience - about the nature of rules, mechanics, and how games are built around them. I aimed to "celebrate and explore the many things that games (and other systemic media) do with the rules at their foundation."
Human Scale Data and Synecdoche
A talk I gave as part of a 45-minute session at The Media Festival Arts 2010, looking at what I felt open data was, and what some of the more creative possibilities it afforded developers was: in particular, making huge data relevant at a human scale. It covered some of my work on Schooloscope, as well as the Tower Bridge bot, and went on to look at the way data-driven products create synecdoche.
Everything is Multiplayer Now
A short session about what "multiplayer" means for games, and the web, and all manner of things that aren't games, and what the many approaches to 'multiplayer' are. And, in conclusion, that acknowledgement that everything always was multiplayer anyway.
If Gamers Ran The World
Half an hour, talking to a pair of mixed audiences, of gamers, students, and developers alike, about what skills playing games teaches you about the rest of the world. I chose to focus on an interesting thought experiment, rather than talking about social software as I had done before; as a result, it's a bit of a curveball but there was some good thinking in it, I think, and I'm proud of the outcome.
Playing Together: What Games Can Learn from Social Software
A forty-five minute presentation at two games conferences about what games can learn from the social web. A lot of talks at web conferences had covered what the web can learn from games, and I felt it was time to look at what genuinely social gaming might look like. It's a fun talk, and I'm really interested in some of the ideas that emerged from writing it.
A Series of Tubes
A twenty-minute talk about pipes, tubes, and the joys of physical infrastructure, which I delivered at Russell Davies' Interesting 2007. Notes are attached at the bottom of each slide.
The Uncanny Valet
A discussion of manners, behaviour, and what they can teach interaction design.
From Paddles to Pads: Is Controller Design Killing Creativity in Videogames?
A talk I delivered at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in 2006, on how the devices we play games with affects the games we can play (amongst other things).