Categories
Events Games Personal

Friday Fluke

Pretty much ever since I’ve worked at Ubisoft Montréal, I’ve sent out an email at 16:oo on Fridays to invite everyone on the team to take it easy as we head into the weekend. It started out as a pretty typical “beer mail” — as Production Coordinator on For Honor, one of the things I did was order and stock up the beer fridge (along with soft drinks) — and over time I started having a bit of fun with the email. When I changed teams (the Game Operations Online team), I kept doing it, even though it wasn’t really a habit the team had — I remember the first one I sent, grabbing a beer and then standing alone, with no one else drinking. Eventually they caught on, and on top of sharing a drink and chatting, it turned into playing games and the like.

Last year I decided I didn’t want to call it the “beer time” anymore — because of the alcohol connotation that could make non-beer drinkers feel uninvited (even if we stock up on other things, like sodas, juices, kombuchas, etc.) — and decided to brand it as the “Friday Fluke.” I’m part of a team called Harbour (offering online solutions for all of Ubisoft), and the “fluke” is a part of an anchor, and so I saw this as an “anchor” for the week — and I also liked the other connotation that the word has (an unexpected piece of good luck).

With that change, I’ve been turning that end-of-week time into more of an event, and the latest thing I’ve introduced (as of a few weeks ago) is that we kick it off with someone doing a presentation about something personal using the PechaKucha format (20 images/slides x 20 seconds), in order to get to know each other a bit better. It’s been great so far, with everyone doing a fantastic job with what they shared, even if they were a bit nervous about trying out the format. I myself did a couple (to get people used to it), first a rundown of my 10 favorite anime series, and then for the second one I broke the format a bit, giving my 20-second thoughts on all 25 James Bond movies (I included Bond 25).

After that we usually end up playing games in a large group, usually of the social deduction variety, things like Werewolf, Secret Hitler, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, The Resistance, Coup, etc. For Werewolf, after playing through two copies of Werewolf Legacy, I’ve now started creating my own scenarios, but that’s for another post.

I’m sharing this just to put it out there that the end-of-week “beer time” that is not uncommon in game studios (we used to do it during my time at Eidos Montréal, in the Square Enix Montréal studio, as well) doesn’t have to be just that, and can be turned into more of a social event, in which everyone can feel like they can be part of it, and contribute.

Categories
Art Events Games Personal

GameLoop & GCX

Today was an enjoyable day, taking in Montreal’s annual GameLoop “unconference” — “unconference” in the sense that as a group we crowdsource the sessions for the day, with each session then acting as a salon-type discussion.

After leaving Japan and moving to Montreal, it’s taken a while for me to decide to start attending this sort of event again. It was a big part of my life in Tokyo — from running the PechaKucha Night series there, my PauseTalk series, and then other types of talk events and workshops I organized throughout the years (and then there are all the events that I attended as part of the audience).

But after the move, my new goal was to concentrate on my new career path (working in the games industry) — you could also add to that the lack of knowledge I had about the creative scene here in Montreal. Then, a couple of months ago I finally decided to check out one of the events organized by the Mount-Royal Gaming Society, Art-UP (also prompted by the fact that my friend Renaud Bédard was one of the presenters), and it not only scratched the itch I had to experience this sort of event, it also made me want more, both in terms of attending and in terms of organizing.

It prompted me to reach out to the person (Nicolas Marier) who was organizing the long-in-hiatus PechaKucha Night series in Montreal, and not only did we hit it off on our first meeting, but it looks like things are brewing in a positive way to reactivate the series.

I then attended the Canadian Gaming Expo, with a day of talks that I found to be hugely inspiring (mostly revolving around indie game studios) — and it was nice to see a few of those presenters as participants in today’s GameLoop event.

It’s good to be bathing myself again in this sort of knowledge sharing — something I try to participate in and push at work as well — and I’m hoping that I’ll get to have a hand in organizing and supporting more events here too.

Categories
Events Music

Shibuya-kei Festival

I so wish I could have attended this Shibuya-kei festival (Shibuya Music Scramble 2017), featuring Maki Nomiya, Yasuharu Konishi, Halfby, Hideki Kaji… Read the amazing report by Patrick here.

Categories
Art Design Events

Designart Reports

Designart has come and gone (held in Tokyo last month, October 16-22), but here are a couple of reports to read on the event that was, from The Japan Times and Dezeen. So happy to see Mark and Astrid (Klein Dytham architecture) be involved in this, and it sounds like it’s the start of a great new series of art & design events for the city.

Categories
Events Games

Ubiday 2017

Hey, I get to put on my employee hat, and write something that relates to Japan today. On October 9, at Shibuya Hikarie, is Ubisoft Japan’s annual “Ubiday 2017” fan event. Lots of details here. Why no sign of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle? The game’s Japan release is set for early next year.

Categories
Events Games Music

Indie Megashow Tokyo

Alas, Tokyo Game Show is just around the corner, and it’s again going to be something I’m going to miss — along with the legendary pre-TGS 8-4 party and big Nakame drinkup at Otaru — but I’m still happy to see that there’s now a new cool event set for TGS week, organized by my buddies at Dangen Entertainment. Not only that, but the Indie Megashow Tokyo party/event will take place at my old PechaKucha stomping grounds of SuperDeluxe, so you know it’s going to have an awesome vibe (bolstered by live performances from Megaran and DJ Uppercut). You’ll find details here.

Categories
Books Events Fashion

Ametora, Japanese Edition

Big congrats to David on getting Ametora released in Japan — it’s available now. He shares a few details about the new Japanese edition in his latest Ametora Dispatches newsletter, and he’ll be doing a “talk event” at Ginza Tsutaya on September 1, with Popeye magazine editor-in-chief Takahiro Kinoshita.

Categories
Art Events

Yayoi Kusama Museum

I’d love to visit the upcoming Yayoi Kusama Museum in Shinjuku, opening in October — not only to take in her work, but the building itself looks quite nice. You’ll find more details in this Spoon & Tamago post.

On a related note, here in Montreal we live near the Musée des Beaux Arts, and this summer they’ve set up an outdoor collection along Sherbrooke street, and we’re lucky enough to have a piece by Kusama near our place (pictured below).

Categories
Events Music Personal

DJ Dougie Jones

Longtime readers of this blog may remember that I’ve done a lot of music-related projects over the years, like my PLAY sessions at Cafe Pause in Ikebukuro, and then in more recent years my Codex music podcast. I haven’t done anything in the form of creating mixes or playlists in ages, but recently have been teaming up with one of my colleagues and friends at work, Samya Khemri (who together with me is part of the studio’s Game Online Operations team), in creating playlists in Spotify for internal events at the studio. Since we’re both huge fans of Twin Peaks, we call ourselves DJ Dougie Jones. The first playlist was for a happy hour on the studio’s rooftop terrace, the second playlist we did as a soundtrack for an evening of Cards Against Humanity (that we played in a meeting room), and the third one was for our team’s summer BBQ, that was held last week in a park not far from the studio. These are really fun to make — we basically bounce off each other, track by track — and I love the exercise of listening to something someone else has selected, and then trying to think about what would be fun to follow with. It definitely scratches my music itch.

Categories
Art Design Events

The Tokyoiter Tote Bag

As I had posted recently, The Tokyoiter project went physical with its first exhibition, and at the event you could purchase the lovely tote bag you see pictured. Big thanks to my buddy Andrew — one of the co-creators of The Tokyoiter — for helping me get my hands on one.