Kill Screen is a Dumbo-based publication with an agenda: It wants to convince the world, once and for all, that video games are a real art form, like books or cinema; that it has auteurs; that its creations can make you laugh and cry; that it matters.
It’s a struggle that every art form goes through. There was a time when real writers only wrote plays, for example, and, in the age of the penny dreadful, novels were seen as the work of genre hacks. Comic books are starting to come out of their decades-long association with teenage power fantasies. It helps when institutions step out to make the case for a medium. Graphic novels have The Comics Journal. Video games have Kill Screen.
The 2015 TWO5SIX Festival (May 15-17) is one of the IRL incarnations of the Kill Screen agenda, and it uses a clever format to execute it.
For most talks, the staff pairs one luminary from video games with another luminary from some other corner of the creative world. By putting them together and seeing what kinds of ideas emerge from pushing them to talk, Kill Screen sets up video game creatives as peers with makers in other art forms. This year, the festival will feature a second day, with a temporary arcade curated by Kill Screen. All the events this year will take place at Williamsburg’s Villain.
We covered last year’s event. Its keynote with the brothers behind Dwarf Fortress remains one of the best hours we’ve ever spent listening to dudes talk on a stage.
In the hopes of topping that, here are some Brooklyn voices we look forward to hearing at this year’s TWO5SIX Festival:
1. Youngna Park
- We’ll be interested in hearing what the VP of Product at Tinybop has to say at a video game event. The company’s founder doesn’t see what they make as games, because there’s nothing to win, “just things to do.”
- The founder of OkCupid lives in Greenpoint. We caught a talk about his book, Dataclysm.
- The radio producer and filmmaker has worked for brands like This American Life and the New York Times.
5. Jamin Warren
- If the event runs like last year, Warren will be the interviewer running all the conversations on stage. The journalist and Kill Screen founder covered culture for the Wall Street Journal and hosts a PBS show on video games.