The Average Gamer

VideoBrains – Thinking Deeply About Games

VideoBrains Logo
VideoBrains is a monthly London event where intelligent people gather to talk about video games and the surrounding culture. January’s event covered such topics as the binary concept of morality that’s often used, the psychology of control schemes, immersion-breaking bugs and more. February’s event is happening tonight, where speakers will be broaching the the umbrella topic “All’s Fair In Love and Games.” Unfortunately for you, tonight’s tickets sold out weeks ago but March VideoBrains tickets are already on sale, covering to the wide-ranging topic of “Non-Player Characters”.

I got in touch with organiser Jake Tucker to find out what happens at these evenings. “What makes VideoBrains so much fun to be at and what I think has helped it grow so quickly is the community,” said Tucker. “There’s a really dedicated group of fans who support every one of our speakers equally and are more than happy to drop me friendly emails with feedback and compliments. By luck or judgement (I’m not sure which yet) a supportive and loyal crowd have sprung up behind VideoBrains and it makes it a joy to run and speak at. I’m very honoured.”

Alan Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Five out of Ten Magazine and has done a couple of VideoBrains talks. “I was basically ‘headhunted’ for VideoBrains through my book Escape to Na Pali, which was released in June 2014. It was a good promotional opportunity, but also a way to explore themes in the book that could be explained in front of a live audience.”

“Whenever you’re a writer by trade, you tend to force your thoughts through a written medium, but what’s great about VideoBrains is that you’re giving a talk with a real message to a receptive audience. YouTube is a one-sided way to deliver your message (I think we can all agree the comments are a cess pit) but being able to talk to humans in real life, whether that’s a more formal Q&A or an informal chat over a drink afterwards, is really beneficial and a good way to build a real community.”

Williamson continued, “There’s a very positive vibe at VideoBrains: as a presenter you feel quickly at ease with the audience, and because you’re in a pub it’s less formal than a lecture theatre. You’ve got the audience right in front of you, and that’s a great way to build a connection with them.”

Tucker works hard to ensure that the VideoBrains mood is mostly positive. “Negativity is boring,” he said. “I’ve rejected pitches about that hashtag [GamerGate – Ed.] and other negatives. The only flipside to this was Laura Dale’s talk about internet harassment. This was in the middle of our recent internet woes and I thought it was important to give it some space and show that VideoBrains was totally not on board with that sort of thing.

“I’m more prone to putting a talk on that shows a unique perspective. Whether this is people from a diverse background or something with a unique view – I’d much rather get a unique view you can’t get from anywhere else. I’m aiming for diversity both in speakers and talk titles. ”

If you want to give a talk about video games, you can pitch Jake directly via email. Previous talks are available on the VideoBrains YouTube channel and you can keep track of upcoming events over on the website or Twitter.