Other Local Events

By Rachel Roberie

Rachel Roberie is a second year student at Northeastern University majoring digital art and game design and minoring in writing. She hails from New Orleans, LA, loves to play video games, make video games, cook delicious Cajun food, and write stories and poems.

Heads up, local game developers! November 13th will be the first ever “Fun and Games” edition of the Mass Innovation Nights, a monthly event for displaying the new products of ten local companies. Participation provides the publicity and social media attention of over 200 attendees and addition to the Mass Innovation newsletter that reaches over 8,000 local subscribers. Past participants have received funding in the order of $600M, and your exciting new game may be next. And the best part is that exhibiting costs nothing, so you have nothing to lose!

The event takes place from 6 to 8:30pm on Wednesday, November 13th, and is located at GameOn, 82 Landsowne St, Boston MA 02215. Fun & Games is a great opportunity to spread awareness for your games project over Twitter, YouTube, and blogs. Sign up at bit.ly/FameAndFortune for your chance to launch your game development company into fame and fortune!


By Rachel Roberie

Rachel Roberie is a second year student at Northeastern University majoring digital art and game design and minoring in writing. She hails from New Orleans, LA, loves to play video games, make video games, cook delicious Cajun food, and write stories and poems.

The 2013 Boston Festival of Indie Games is a testament to the power of crowdfunding and homage to the platitude “good things come to those who wait.” The second FIG, held on September 14 with an expected attendance of 5,000 people (3,000 more than in 2012), had already achieved the feel of a miniaturized PAX – but with less drama and plentiful goodwill. In order to make the festival bigger and better without having to charge attendees, a Kickstarter was launched in April. In the course of 35 days it collected nearly eighteen thousand dollars from 400 backers, three thousand higher than the original goal, and the improvements to the festival were huge. Last year it was held in a bunch of MIT classrooms, which were tough to navigate when the crowds came in, and hot and stuffy to boot; this year’s location was excellent, with the space bumped up to several gymnasium-sized areas: much roomier, very well air-conditioned, and holding a very official, convention-like feel.

Pains were taken to keep the event’s admission free for all with a love for games in their heart, like having an all-volunteer staff, despite the addition of new tournaments, speakers, and many more games. This sets FIG apart from most other game conventions, which can get to be pretty expensive, and the more you spend on going to conventions, the less you can spend on the great games you discover there. And there were plenty of great games to be discovered – FIG displayed 28 tabletop games, up from last year’s 11, and 69 digital games, nearly doubling the previous count of 36.

Game developers from the west coast, New York area, and even a few from Canada traveled all the way to Boston to show their stuff. Apsis was a touch-based experience developed by a team of students from Cornell, and Ko-Op Mode from Montreal was displaying Skipping Stones, a generative music game that looked like a moving painting. Some notable Boston-area companies included Disruptor Beam with Game of Thrones Ascent, Fire Hose Games with Go Home Dinosaurs, and Popcannibal from the Indie Game Collective with Captain Astronaut’s Last Hurrah. Many of these games were in alpha or beta stages, but all of them were beautiful and showed huge potential. Equally impressive were the tabletops, which ranged from Funemployed, a card game of fantastical resume-building, to Castles of Caragaba, a tile-laying magic-lair-buildathon. The full list of the digital and tabletop showcases is available on FIG’s website.

But the games themselves weren’t all the festival had to offer. The famous Boston food trucks that parked nearby, including Cookie Monstah, Bon Me, and Area Four, relieved some of the crowds in MIT’s student center dining. The keynote speaker this year was the Robin Hunicke, executive producer of the rich and artistic game experience that is “Journey,” developed by thatgamecompany. Her talk was about finding meaning in gameplay, something that the innovative boundary-pushing indie community cares a great deal for. And, of course, events like FIG are a wonderful place to talk to people who share a passion for games. Booth owners and attendees alike were approachable, friendly, and willing to share of their experience, and these are the qualities that make FIG a festival everybody is glad to come back to.

We are proud to partner with the Boston Festival of Indie Games in 2013 and are happy to tell you that attendee registration for the 2013 festival recently opened! Fans of digital, tabletop and live action roleplaying games are welcome to register for free at http://bostonfig.com/registration/attendee-registration/.

A celebration of independent game development in a variety of media and genres, Boston Festival of Indie Games is for all ages, free and open to the public. Festival attendees play video games, tabletop games and live action roleplaying (LARP) games in a casual, inclusive environment, plus attend film screenings and keynote talks.

Attendees can also become game developers themselves by participating in digital game jams, creating their own board and card games, and attending workshops and lectures about the process of making games.  More fest details, including 2013 programming, will be announced soon. To stay informed on fest progress, sign up for updates on www.BostonFIG.com.


2013 is here and the road ahead for game developers in Massachusetts has never been better!  With 2012 behind us, it’s time to look ahead to all of the great local events coming this year.  The first, Boston Indies Demo Night, happened this month along with the Global Game Jam. If you missed it, fear not! There are a plethora of additional events in the pipeline including:


            Game Development Gala (February 20th)                    

Turbine’s “Game Dev Showcase” will showcase their many facets of AAA game design, game production, game development and game support to the greater Boston game community as well as to the many game design academic programs in the Boston area.  More info and registration info here: http://turbinenerd.eventbrite.com/

            Games Circle “Women in Games” Panel (February 28th)

Our next event will feature a panel of women who are active contributors in the games industry and who will share insight into the current and future roles that women perform to shape the industry.  More info and register here: http://womeningames.eventbrite.com.


            MassDiGI Game Challenge (March 1st-2nd)

A one-of-a-kind event, the MassDiGI Game Challenge helps aspiring game developers launch new games in Massachusetts. Students and “indie” developers can compete to win a variety of prizes and the event will also feature educational sessions/workshops and an Indie Game Showcase. More info and register here: http://www.massdigi.org/gamechallenge/

            MIT Business in Games (March 21st – TBD)

Details have not yet been formally announced for this upcoming conference, but we believe it is scheduled to happen on March 21st, the day before PAX East. I will update this blog as soon as I have official information. http://www.mitbig.com/

            MassTLC “Made in MA” Pre-PAX Party (March 21st – TBD)

Hosted by MassTLC, this is an annual shindig held the night before PAX East all to celebrate the Massachusetts game industry. Held at the Microsoft NERD Center, it is a great night of networking and checking out various local products and services on display. Go here to register and remember to find someone with the discount code that makes the event free.  If you don’t know someone email me here http://paxparty2013.eventbrite.com/

            PAX East (March 22nd-24th)

Penny Arcade Expo’s east-coast event, PAX East is a consumer-oriented gathering focused on games, games, games. PAX is an excellent opportunity to check out the latest and greatest games, but to also meet companies in the region, as well as those from other areas of the country. Look for the “Made in MA” room to show your support for the game industry in Massachusetts.  More details: http://east.paxsite.com/


            Games Circle Financing/Funding Event (May 30th!)

Stay tuned right here at www.GamesCircle.org for more information about this event, coming soon.          


            GameLoop (TBA)

This is Boston’s own game developer un-conference in the vein of BarCamp.  Attendees determine the subjects they want to talk about and propose.  Attendees vote on which topics they want to learn more about, which then determines the course of the day.  Keep your ears open for more details about the event – participation is usually driven by word-of-mouth.


            Boston Festival of Indie Games (September 14th)

Organized by Boston Indies and hosted at MIT, Boston FIG is a multi-faceted event that not only supports digital games, but has board games, live action games, speakers, game related films, a game jam, game art exhibit and more! With over 2,000 attendees in 2012, the Boston FIG committee expects 2013 to be even bigger.  Free to attend, game developers and game fans should keep an eye on registration and game submission details at: http://www.bostonfig.com/

So, be sure you mark these dates and events on your calendars and we hope to see you around! Also, be sure to stay tuned to these other local organizations for other events throughout the year:

            Boston Indies (Meets Monthly)


            Boston Postmortem (Meets Monthly)


            Women in Game Development Meetup (Meets Monthly)


            HTML5 Game Developers


            Boston Unity Group


Boston Blender User Group


            AAUGA Autodesk Boston


It has been a momentous year for the games industry in and around Massachusetts. We had lots of ups and some downs, but the Games Circle committee is looking forward to new beginnings and even brighter horizons in 2013! To move forward, however, we must look back…

In 2012, numerous new games were launched (some beta launches) by local companies such as Stomp Games / Tencent Boston, Turbine / Warner Bros., Demiurge Studios, Popcannibal, Owlchemy Labs, HitPoint Studios, Harmonix and many more! While many studios saw  success in 2012, 38 Studios brought national attention to New England when it shut its doors this spring. But, we’ve emerged. And, whether you were personally touched by the happenings at 38 Studios or not, I think we all learned a lot from the experience.

PAX East came to Boston for the third straight year, bigger and better than ever! Despite being held on Easter weekend, this year’s PAX East was the most well-attended yet.

Several other significant events impacted the industry in and around Boston including the MIT Business in Gaming Conference and the first-ever Boston Festival of Indie Games, which saw over 2,000 attendees in September! And, let’s not forget the 1st annual MassDiGI Game Challenge  in April  –   28 teams competed and numerous student-created games were developed (and some launched) this year as a result.

Our own Games Circle community was also very active during 2012. Our line-up of thought-provoking and well-attended panels and networking events included a “State of Play: 2012 Edition” session, “Can Games Save Education?” panel, and “Launching Great Games with Limited Marketing Spend” panel. We ended the year with “Smart Money in Gaming,” which was our most well-attended event EVER!

We are also happy to have two new committee members joining the Games Circle in 2012 – Caleb Garner of Part 12 Studios and Michelle Yaiser of Adobe.

And, I can’t end a 2012 recap post without thanking our sponsors – Turbine; Morse-Barnes, Brown & Pendleton; Adobe; and the Microsoft NERD Center!

Cheers to an even more momentous 2013 for the New England games community!

Elicia Basoli

Join the MIT Game Lab and keynote speaker, visionary game developer Peter Molyneux, on September 21st for a one-day symposium:

Games in Everyday Life and Why That Matters to You

How can games expand and grow as an academic field, communication medium, and industry? The new MIT Game Lab (http://gamelab.mit.edu) has some answers for you.

Register here! http://mitgamelabsymposium2012.eventbrite.com

1. Panels By and For Industry and Researchers

Panels will feature leading industry professionals and games researchers on:

  • Applied Game Research: Players, Design, and Technology
  • Games for Learning
  • Meaningful R&D Partnerships
  • Positive Game Lab Impact

This is your chance to meet leaders like new media scholar Henry Jenkins and MIT neuroscientist Sebatian Seung, whose artificial intelligence work is an inspiration for how game-like tools can have real-world impact.

2. Then, work with the MIT Game Lab

This gathering also marks the launch of the MIT Game Lab, the new international home of game scholars, creators, and technologists, all working to solve the tough challenges people like you to bring to the table.

The symposium is open to the public. But we especially welcome those who think games have a role to play in advancing their academic, non-profit, and corporate missions but dont yet know how. To that end, your participation in this symposium can be a step toward working with the MIT Game Lab long-term.

3. Register

Slots are going fast, but discounted attendance is still available for $50 which includes breakfast, lunch, and a ticket to the evening reception.

Register today, and see you on the 21st!


Shortly before PAX East 2012 happened the Boston indy community came together to talk about creating a festival for all things games here in Boston.  The FIG committee wanted to celebrate and highlight the work coming from the area.  However they didn’t just want to make a cookie cutter event.  They wanted to empower the audience with the power of voting on the various categories.  This is intended to keep things extremely grass roots and transparent.

The event has some really great sponsors and partners in the area such as Microsoft, Adobe, MIT, TapJoy, Unity3D, MassDiGI and others!  The staff here at New England Game SIG are very excited to see this event come together and are helping get the word out through posts like this.

The event consists of a broad range of game categories.  There will be spaces devoted to Interactive Fiction, Video Games, Board Games and Live Action Games.  The event is free to register for participants.

Video Game developers are encouraged to submit their games for the various contest categories.  Submission of games has a nominal fee of $10 for students and $15 for indies.  Non-digital game designers are encouraged to submit their respective game for public interaction and exposure to press and communities at no cost.

Boston FIG happening over in the Kendal Square / MIT Campus area on September 22nd from 10am to 10pm.  To register and get more details visit www.bostonfig.com for details.

If you are with the media and want to schedule an interview or get more details feel free to contact press@bostonfig.com

twitter: @BostonFIG

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