In May 2011, I was invited to give a lecture at the Center for Games and Playable Media, University of California, Santa Cruz. I was very kindly received by wonderful PhD students who picked me up from and delivered me to the airport and made sure I got to my appointments on campus. Thanks Brandon and John! My jetlaggy state of mind appreciated their shepherding immensely. My talk, which stated/asked the question “What’s wrong with the gaming revolution?” was filmed, which was a new experience for me. In addition to delivering the talk, I also had meetings with doctoral students who presented their projects to me for input. I was very impressed with their creativity, intelligence, and ambition to change the world with games. Noah Wardrip-Fruin, who invited med, and Michael Mateas and Jane Pinckard who are the center directors, made me feel very welcome.
They are just as supersweet and smart as their graduate students ;).
Despite foul rainy weather, I truly enjoyed my visit, which also contained great thai food, an (ice)creamery, listening to John Davison of CBS Interactive on “What will the games business look like in 5 years?” and a quick dinner with some of the faculty members, among them the lovely Soraya Murray, before departing. The UC Santa Cruz campus is a very special place with its tall redwood trees, leafy moist surroundings and hilly, curvy campus roads and large population of deer, which in turn attracts mountain lions! Its closeness to the Silicon Valley and San Francisco and the beach makes it an attractive place to study and work.
I had not visited UCSC in many years. Last time was in 1999, planning where to go if my Fulbright application would go through. History of Consciousness was the department I had in mind then. Eventually I ended up in New Mexico, on Route 66, for a completely different adventure. Next time I visit, I will try to fit in an old acquaintance – the Giant Dipper… “the great roller coaster […] amid screams above the golden strand of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk … a tooth-loosener, eyeball-popper, and one long shriek.” (Herb Caen).