Watch the video of Andy Robertson’s talk at TEDxExeter 2012.
Scroll down the page for biographical information and news.
Video and Live blogging
As well as writing about video games, ‘Geek Dad Gamer’ gets local artists and singer-songwriters to respond in unusual ways to games. He showed a video of Rebecca Mayes singing about Halo 4. Rebecca was going to sing live to us, but unfortunately has a bug today.
Video games are not just entertainment, excitement, adrenalin and a bit of violence thrown in. They also want to engage our hearts. We invest millions on technology and delivering game experiences, and in them can be found cutting-edge ways of being human. To be a games player is to be a creator. Games provide a way in to participating in the stories and owning them, while films keep us in touch with naivety and false hope.
Talk about games has become just marks out of 10 for graphics, sound and game experience, a boring and unsustainable approach. It’s time to talk in a different, more sustainable and human way about games.
We spend a lot of time keeping the wrong games out of the hands of the wrong people, rather than getting the right games into the hands of the right people.
Play a game in a family or community, and all sorts of surprising responses pop up. It opens a door to talking about dealing with violence, and choosing non-violence. The presence of dark games, like some of the difficult stories in the Bible, helps us engage with difficult subjects of darkness, violence and loss. We need to develop a priesthood of gamers.
PS. Andy has provided some links for people who want to find out more…
Firstly the community site he runs who produce the unusual reviews he was talking about:
Secondly the live theatre performance of our reviews he included in the talk:
- Theatre Homepage: http://www.gamepeople.co.uk/family-gamer-tv-live.htm
- Rebecca Mayes song: http://www.gamepeople.co.uk/family-gamer-tv-live_360_halo-4.htm
Andy Robertson is a videogame expert who specialises in family gaming. He edits the GeekDad blog for Wired.co.uk, has written for The Telegraph and BBC as well as contributing regularly to Radio 4’s You and Yours programme.
He produces alternative responses to videogames on his Game People website. These take the form of songs, plays, comedies and art that offer a playful and creative way to engage with videogames. The work has appeared nationally in both newspapers and television. Along similar lines, his Family Gamer TV show, published on Wired, offers parents a space to learn and engage with videogames without hype or jargon. By featuring real families it uncovers videogames successes and failures as a way to engage parents and children with these experiences.
Andy recently broadened this theme, of connecting videogames and art, in his Greenbelt Arts festival talk about the intersection between theology and videogames “Dark Stories in Safe Spaces”.
News about Andy Robertson
Doing a bit of a catch-up of articles in the local press about TEDxExeter 2016 …
- Internationally renowned speakers announced for TEDxExeter 2016 conference, Western Morning News, 22 January 2016
- TEDxExeter 2016 conference speakers announced, Express and Echo, 21 January 2016
- TEDxExeter conference set to inspire with help from sponsors Stephens Scown, Express and Echo, 7 January 2016
- TEDxExeter tickets sell out in a record 22 minutes, Express and Echo, 2 December 2015
- TEDxExeter’s 2016 conference set to be a sell out event, Express and Echo, 27 November 2015
- School groups to have reserved space at TEDxExeter, Express and Echo, 26 November 2015
- TEDxExeter will double its audience in 2016, Express and Echo, 28 October 2015
- Comment: Role models can help all strive for top jobs, by Michelle Ryan in the Western Morning News, 27 January 2016
- Video: Prof proves it’s who you know, not what you know, Western Morning News, 5 January 2016
- FamilyGamerTV: Exeter Youtuber celebrates incredible 100,000 subscribers, Express and Echo, 29 October 2015
The excitement over the release of the tickets for TEDxExeter 2014 showed just how important the event is to many people. We’re planning a short series of stories from speakers and attendees – their own unique perspectives on the previous events. Shortly after the first ever TEDxExeter in 2012, Jeanie Honey wrote about the thrills and spills of being an organiser. Andy Robertson spoke at that event about sustainable perspectives on video games. Here’s his story.
The invitation to talk at TEDx is a strange one. Prestige, celebrity, kudos and possibly fortune await those whose “idea worth spreading” breaks out into the larger TED orbit. Equally though it’s a lot of work to talk to a few hundred people for 10 minutes or so without being paid.
I’d do it again in a flash.
More than the ups and downs of public speaking, online reception and resulting connections, ideas and projects, it was pivotal at a personal level. You see, TEDx events have built into them the idea that ideas worth spreading come with people attached. A TEDx talk is a personal thing to do, a bearing not only of your best idea but the best of your self in public.
This slowly dawned on me during the four weeks or so I spent writing, rehearsing, self filming and testing my talk on friends. What started as some novel ideas about video-games – my intentional category mistake of talking about them as if they meant something — had to be brought down to land in me as a person.
Having a reason to do this, and slowly realising it was too late to back out now, meant that I spent time working out what it was I really thought about the video-games I wrote about on a daily basis.
It’s here I found not only what I really wanted to say, but what I wanted to pursue after I’d said it. There was a collision in me; video-games and theology and community and creativity. The result was my 10 minute talk about how we might sustain grown-up talk about video-games, but not only that. I also knew myself a little better.
This is why I’d do it again. This is the opportunity offered to TEDx speakers and this is what makes TEDx such an engaging event not just ideas worth spreading, but the people that come with them.
Andy Robertson is now a freelance family gaming expert for the BBC and runs Family Gamer TV YouTube channel.
At the end of November, TEDxExeter 2012 alumnus Bandi Mbubi returned to Exeter to give another talk on “Conflict-free Congo – the paradox of our new technologies”. He spoke in more depth about fairtrade mobile phones, the situation in the DR Congo, and the strides being taken by Congo Calling – the campaign calling for fairtrade mobiles set up following Bandi’s TEDxExeter talk. Afterwards, Andy Robertson interviewed him about fairtrade videogame consoles.
Andy was also a speaker at TEDxExeter 2012, about sustainable video games. TEDx speakers have to agree to attend the whole of the day, so Andy was there to hear Bandi’s talk, which encouraged him to think more about ethical gadgets. In particular, Andy was impressed by Bandi’s “insistence and hope that it would be the very technology that was causing the problem that would also be its solution.” We hope you will enjoy their conversation.