This weekend, like Charlie co-founder Dagmar Blommaert will be giving a talk at Game Happens, taking place from November 8 – 10 in Genova, Italy. Game Happens is an international festival dedicated to the cultural, political, and social impact of video games. She will debut her talk “Why Video Games Are The Perfect Medium To Tell Meaningful Stories.”
Looking at game developers taking the stage at places like GDC, public speaking is both scary and liberating. As long as you’re able to cross that uncanny valley in your mind where you see people staring back at you, you get to share your passion with an invested audience. “It’s scary as hell,” she confirms when we ask her about it. “Good thing I’ve been a teacher for 5 years!”
A teacher, huh? This forty something mother of two may not fit the profile of your average indie developer, but that’s what makes her story all the more inspirational. Writing has always been her passion, but while “life happened”, she’s explored a number of different career paths. Until one day she decided to follow her dreams and signs up for a script writing course in order to actively pursue a career in writing.
Interestingly, she’s never heard about Unity or Unreal when she lands a writing gig to create the characters and backstory for the educational platform Kweetet (link in Dutch). Her colleagues, in particular young artist Kenny Guillaume, show her the ropes and she quickly discovers the many storytelling possibilities (and challenges) of the interactive medium.
The off-hours collaboration between the two creative spirits ultimately results in the release of the award-winning narrative adventure Marie’s Room. “In my talk, using Marie’s Room as a best practise, I explain how I build characters that trigger emotional response in the player, and how that affects their experience. I argue how building a connection between these characters and the player in a video game can result in a more intense emotional experience than in a movie or a book.”
Convinced she’s got plenty more stories to tell, game studio like Charlie and the development of their debut commerial title Ghost on the Shore were born. In the meantime, she also wrote the story for Mantis Games’ Journey for Elysium and collaborated on Fishing Cactus’ Nanotales.
Looks like video games have buried their talons deep in her soul and we couldn’t be more glad about that happening. Good luck out there Dagmar, and let’s hope to see you preaching from plenty more stages in the future.