Jamin Warren saw a problem with video game conferences. They only addressed the needs of two groups of people: those who consume video games and the developers who make them.
As the co-founder of the print and digital publication Kill Screen, Warren says his goal was to explore the intersection between culture and games, and how they influence each other.
“We feel like games have have a lot to teach culture, and culture has a lot it can teach games. All of these things have their corresponding pieces inside the world of games,” Warren said. “I was frustrated with what I saw as not enough cross-pollination between the two.”
Two5six will focus on pairing someone from inside the gaming world with a counterpart from another industry like education, design, social media or technology.
“Game designers are some of the most thoughtful people on the planet, and nobody listens,” Warren said. “So I thought there has got to be a way to get more people interested into the design process of these games. Instead of structuring it around bringing a designer on stage, let’s show the world why these games matter.”
The pairings are of big names from every industry. Jeffrey Yohalem, writer for blockbuster games like Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and Far Cry 3, will be talking on “Storytelling For the Next 100 Years” with Andy Hunter, cofounder of Electric Literature, a quarterly literary magazine for the digital generation. There will be discussion of online communities between 4chan founder Chris Poole and Jeffrey Lin, the lead social systems designer at Riot Games, who make the ridiculously popular free-to-play League of Legends.
There will also be a session between Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley and Yancey Strickler, one of the cofounders of Kickstarter on gaming mechanics as inspiration, taken from their experiences in their respective jobs.
“We looked at other conferences for inspiration, TED being a big one. We see more of these ideas conferences pop up around tech. It’s a great way to extend the brand into the real world, interact with our readers, expand on the thoughts we’ve been talking about for the last few years,” Warren said.
He said they took a lot of pointers from TED’s programming when creating Two5six — named for the level in Pac-Man when a kill screen occurs.
Warren said he’ll act as a moderator for most of the day during the two-speaker sessions, but “it’s pretty easy and enjoyable because you get to ask questions and just let people be brilliant.”
The conference was originally also planned to be funded via Kickstarter, but Warren said they secured sponsorship from Mailchimp and were able to take the crowdfunding page down early.
Image via iStockphoto, CobaltMoon.