These are powerpoint presentations I've given over the years, in .pdf
format. Most share slides, and some are basically the same talk given
to different audiences. I've divided them into major and minor, depending
on how much original content there is in them (which may or may not reflect
the importance of the audience - some of the most high-powered people
only wanted a general overview of the issues).
SELFWARE was a conference concerned with identity, sponsored
with EU money (Graz had a ton of it to give away as it was
European Capital of Culture that year). This was the first
occasion I described to anyone my ideas for relating virtual
world player type theory to Campbell's monomyth.
Community Work: Managing Multiplayer Culture 2004
Information Technology University, Copenhagen, Denmark.
This is the talk in which I first developed my ideas of
the cultural effect of virtual worlds on real-world
Other Players 2004
Information Technology University, Copenhagen, Denmark.
In this talk, I give my assessment of how virtual world design is becoming
dumbed down because of the need to attract newbies.
The formal paper version is here.
Media Technology Industry 2005
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
This is the talk in which I expound my ideas for
how virtual worlds will develop in future. It proved to
be a good source of slides for later, minor presentations.
Command Lines 2005
University of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
This is my explanation of why you can't have
true player governance of virtual worlds as people
usually envisage it.
Workshop on Creative Broadband Potentials 2005
My take on how design can influence the development of community in virtual worlds.
Austin Games Conference 2005
This is my keynote talk about how virtual world developers can
change the real world.
Game Focus Germany 2007
This is quite a deep talk about the effects
of virtual worlds on real-world cultures
(and vice versa). Its point was made rather
too subtly, though: most people seemed to get
the impression I was merely arguing for
localisation, which is of course what they do
in Germany the whole time. It also suffered
because I advocated exporting German culture,
which is apparently a touchy subject in
Germany as it has connotations of the Nazi
era; in my defence, I did send the slides to
the organisers some weeks prior to the day of the
talk so they could flag any such gaffes, but
they OKed it as it stood.
Indie MMO Game Developers Conference 2007
In this keynote speech, I draw parallels with the
state of textual worlds at this stage of development,
and urge today's independent developers to keep the
University of Oviedo, Spain.
Although this talk does begin with the usual
work-backwards-from-today history lesson and
incorporates several pieces of other talks, it
expands into a wider discussion of the origin
of virtual worlds that makes some attempt to explain
why it is that today's efforts pretty well all
descend from MUD rather than some other
Indie MMO Game Developers Conference 2008
In this keynote speech, I look at three different
possible futures for virtual worlds, and place
my bet on which is going to be the one we get.
Digital Interactive Symposium 2008
This talk is a rant about the state of computer games education in
the UK. In it, I manage to insult just about everyone involved in the
subject in one way or another...
Computer Games/Players/Game Cultures 2009
Otto Von Guericke University, Magdeburg.
In this talk, I discuss the problems that can arise when the designer's
view of the moral tone of a virtual world differs from that of the
Indie MMO Game Developers Conference 2009
Las Vegas, USA.
In this keynote speech, I explain how we can
improve today's MMORPGs by casting aside old rivalries
that many designers aren't even aware have influenced them.
This keynote lists a number of things I don't want to see any more in
MMORPG research, and ends with pointer to what I do want to see.
Lennox Seminar 2010
Trinity University, San Antonio, USA.
The Lennox Seminar series is a prestigious offering of Trinity University's Communication Studies
Department. This year's theme was "reality hackers", so I thought I'd talk about the
different approaches to reality that the MUDs of yore had compared to the MMORPGs of today.
Computer Games Online 2010
I was asked to give a brief commentary statement at the opening of the Computer Games Online
conference in front of an audience of politicians, journalists and industry people. Half an
hour later, Germany was due to play Spain in the semi-final of the World Cup. The slides here
were all pictures; I've integrated my script into them. Also, they've been clipped in the
process of turning them into a .pdf file, but not fatally so.
Computer Games and Human Rights 2010
This is a long (two hours and 20 minutes) talk outlining the main Human Rights issues
raised by computer games. It includes a brief introduction to games and what
they are, in order to help explain why things that may seem to be human rights
violations could, in fact, not be. It's more serious than my talks usually
are, and is also quite bitty and over-long. Nevertheless, it does have enough
material to kick-start a course on the subject, which is why I was invited
to give it.
GDC Online 2010
A talk in which I reveal some of the early thinking behind the design
of MUD1, and bemoan the lack of aforesaid thinking behind most of
today's virtual worlds.
BrowserGames Forum 2010
Here, I look at the state of browser-base games: how they were 18 months ago;
how they are now; how they will become. The early games are having the
effect of teaching non-gamers to become gamers; this will have an impact on
revenue models when they are educated enough to gain a concept of "fairness".
MIT Business in Games 2011
In this talk, I present five game design mistakes that everyone makes. They're
a little more abstract than that makes it sound...
Bristol University Atheist, Agnostic and Secular Society
This is a talk in which I discuss the relationship between gods and
the worlds they create. Virtual world designers are gods for the
worlds they create; knowing what we have learned from being gods ourselves,
what can we surmise about any gods that might have designed our own
reality? Given that this was a talk to an AASS, you can probably guess
what the answer is...
In this talk I outline my views on Social Games (namely that they are not social and
barely games), and what they mean for the future of online games in general. The main
take-away is that they are educating their players in the ways of games, which will
lead them to want to play more game-like games. I'm not completely happy with the
slides here, as there's some unnecessary repetition; still, it's how I presented it,
so there's no going back now...
This talk looks at my player types model and analyses some of the misuses of it in terms
of the player types theory itself (thereby embodying one of the misuses). It's actually
a comment on theory use in general.
Vienna Content Awards
In this talk, I complain about how expensive it is to make computer games and how this is
affecting originality and risk-taking. Unfortunately, my proposed solution is rather too
idealistic to be practical...
Presentation of Complex Objects Symposia
This talk concerns the preservation of virtual worlds in general and MMORPGs in particular. I
make two main points: that the players are part of what you need to preserve; that the audience
for whom you are preserving what you preserve dictates where best to invest your preservation
San Francisco, USA.
In this presentation, I demonstrate some other ways of partitioning a player base, and
discuss the reasons why Gamification has adopted my player type model. The conclusion is
not that these four player types are important, but that the mere fact there are different
player types is important.
Videogames and Learning Symposium
This talk is my response to the rubbishness of "serious games". In it, I explain
what can and can't easily be learned from playing games, pointing out that the area that
games is weakest in is what they're typically called on to do, and the area they're
strongest in is unexaminable. Also, I explain why you can't make a game be "about"
what you're teaching if you intend it to be fun.
New Directions in the Development of Creative and Media Industries
Hong Kong, China.
Here, I explain why MMOs have fallen out of favour in recent years and what developers
can do to resurrect their fortunes. Basically, they've over-reached: in order to attract
more players, they have abandoned their core audience. Now that the new players they
have attracted have in turn been attracted away by mobile games, they need their core
From Virtual to Real World
In this talk, I discuss the dislikes of different player types, rather than just their
likes. This explains why friction can arise between players of different types.
Tel Aviv, Israel.
This is an updated and less rambling version of my Gamelab 2011 presentation.
This talk argues that MMOs are becoming more socialiser-oriented, and explains the
reasons why (along with some advice regarding the consequences of this). In particular,
it asserts that many socialisers don't see themself as socialisers as they don't
realise they've drifted into that condition from being achievers.
This was a Distinguished Research Seminar, which I was asked to give to a mixed
audience of members of the public, researchers and games students on the subject of
the past, present and future of computer games. The talk argues that the mixed
audience itself covers all three of these.
DiGRA/FDG Joint Conference 2016
This was the first joint conference run by the Digital Games Research Association
and the Foundations of Digital Games organisers. As such, it had a wide audience.
I decided to use the opportunity to tell the academics assembled that the games
industry knows things they don't, and if they try to reach out they should be
welcomed rather than shot down. I illustrated this using an unusual example...
Sweden Game Conference 2016
The theme of this conference was "inclusivity", so that's the topic of
this keynote. The approach I take is to describe computer game creation in terms of art
and craft, then to pursue the implications of this if the art creators are all trying to
say the same things. This is the full presentation; as delivered, it was half this length
(and probably all the better for being so).
Gotland Game Conference 2017
This conference had the theme "M for Mature", and I was asked to give a presentation
on games and human rights. I'd done so twice before at Visby, but on this occasion had half
the time available so cut a lot of the flab and made my points more concisely. It's still
slightly too long, but the more compact argument makes for a better presentation overall,
I like the Gamelab conferences because they always have interesting speakers (plus,
occasionally, me). As I was likely to get quality feedback from a range of
people from indie to AAA studios, this time I thought I'd give a presentation I'd been mulling
over for several years, which on my hard drive lived in a folder called "Talk
Without Portfolio". It concerns the types of people who don't play games; more
specifically, those who start playing a game then stop. Why do they stop? This talk
doesn't have the answers, but it does make some first steps.
I was invited to this conference to speak about propgramming language design in an
historical context; basically, to talk about the evolution of MUDDLE, then. Much of
this talk is actually lifted from my Games Hub talk,
which itself drew from my (7-slide) WordPlay presentation,
but it's less focused on Essex University and more on code-as-data.
IEEE Games, Entertainment & Media
The invitation to speak at this conference came almost a year and a half before the
conference took place, which meant I had plenty of time to think about what I was
going to say. Eventually, I went with an examination of what happens when drops of
reality are added to virtual worlds: at what point does the taste of reality
overwhelm that of virtuality? I was a little apprehensive that it might not fit an
IEEE audience, but the talk went down much better than I was expecting, with a lot
of interesting questions to field at the end and in conversations afterwards.
IEEE Conference on Games
I suspect that the reason I was invited to talk at the IEEE Conference on Games
was because someone dropped out. Neveretheless, I offered three possible topics
to cover and this was the one chosen. It's about the moral obligations that
AI researchers of the future will have regarding virtual worlds, supposing that the
NPCs in these worlds are sapient beings.
This talk was meant to be 40 minutes long, but two days before it was given everyone
was told to cut their talks to 20 minutes. I actually think it's better as a result,
so haven't uploaded the 40-minute version. It's about the difference between game
designers (for whom game design is an art form) and designers of games (for whom
it's an engineering problem). I've no idea how the concept was translated into
Spanish, as the Spanish for "game designer" and "designer of games"
is apparently the same.
I delivered this talk pre-recorded, thanks to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
It concerns the design of the class of games known as GWAPs (Games With A
Purpose), in particular their use for obtaining information useful for
linguists. I applied Player Types theory to it, largely because I'd been
asked to do so, and did derive some useful tips as a result even though the
topic wasn't related to virtual worlds.
Gamesweek Berlin 2020
This was a live presentation over Zoom, which was a shame because there were
audience members with whom I might have been able to have interesting conversations
afterwards had I been there in person. The talk itself uses the
rhetoric of developers-as-gods to encourage developers to express themselves
through their games, rather than using the usual plodding "to
design this experience..." approach. I wasn't sure that I managed to tie
all the threads together very well, but some members of the audience seemed
to appreciate it so I guess it wasn't so bad.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain.
This talk for a general audience of indie developers gave an overview
of some of the issues that conceptions of the Metaverse have for
virtual worlds. It outlines the problems but doesn't go into any great
depth on any of them (especially the technical ones). To the audience
it came across as being content-dense, though, so it must have had
something in it they hadn't considered before!
Culture at Play: Avatars, Players and Others
This conference took place over Zoom, and I lost my Internet connection shortly after my presentation finished.
However, it held up for long enough for me to point out a problem that virtual worlds have with social
players, namely that most players play with groups of friends and it's hard to break into those groups,
especially given the way that most MMORPGs are set up. In this talk, I propose a solution.
Online Games 2001
This was one of the last of the talks I gave
at annual business conferences. Those were the days when
virtual world people rubbed shoulders with web game providers,
mobile phone developers and the occasional gambling
advocate. This isn't a particularly special set of slides,
although I do support persona death in one of them.
IEE Seminar 2002
University of Essex.
Unusually, this is not a talk about virtual worlds. I was
asked to give an evening seminar to the Institute of Electrical
Engineers about mobile phone games (having designed several,
some of which were actually made), so that's what I did.
It's somewhat dated now, but was correct in 2002. The title
slide is as dreadful as it ever was.
ESE Seminar, 2002
University of Essex.
This is a talk to the Electronics Department about
virtual world architecture. It's a bit more
hardware-related than the presentations I usually give.
ESE Seminar 2003
University of Essex.
This is the presentation I gave to tell my soon-to-be colleagues what
it was I'd be teaching. It's the whole player types to Hero's Journey story,
albeit not in a huge amount of detail.
International Conference on Computer
Games: Artificial Intelligence, Design and Education 2004
Microsoft Campus, Reading.
I talk here about the implications of the Hero's
Journey on the elder game of virtual worlds.
It was at this conference that I came to understand
the full horror of the lack of understanding UK
academics have of computer games.
Law Seminar 2005
University of Essex.
I gave this seminar to Essex University's
Law Department, or rather a bunch of its
MSc students. It does cover a wide range of material
about virtual worlds and law, most of which is real
frontier stuff. The audience was supposed to comprise
of people interested in all aspects of "cyber law".
I wasn't invited back...
I gave an updated but
much shorter version of the talk a couple
of years later at the University of Teesside.
Digital Money Forum 2005
Standard introduction with a rather more extended
than usual discussion of real-money trading and
associated ideas at the end. This conference
was attended mainly be etailers and the like, with
me as one of the "interesting tangent"
type of speaker. Nevertheless, this lead to a
number of similar talks at other such commercial
get-togethers (and explains why so many of the
presentations in this section are similar).
Workshop on Economic Heterogenous Interacting Agents 2005
Standard history+RMT+law fare, made up of slides from other talks.
WAAG Society 2005
Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
This is a large chunk of my AGC
keynote, but with the focus on olde tyme hacker culture
and how, through virtual worlds, it (deliberately) influences
Digital Identity Forum 2005
Standard introductory stuff, with some discussion at the end
concerning identity issues in virtual worlds.
Family Taster Day 2006
University of Essex.
This was a talk intended for an audience of people
local to the Colchester area, who could come to the
university for a taste of what's on offer. I sewed
together the standard introduction and history
segments of existing talks to explain Essex University's
connection with the hip and happening topic of virtual
worlds. Sadly, the audience was virtual, too: insufficient
people showed interest in attending Family Taster Day and
the event was cancelled. Still, here are the slides I
would have given had I had the opportunity to do so...
Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation 2006
This is the standard intoduction to virtual
worlds, plus some discussion of the issued raised
by real-money trading. The audience was a very
strong group of bankers, insurers, members of
government authorities and other thinkers from the
world of finance.
Creative Clusters 2006
Standard introduction to virtual worlds with a
gee-lookit-the-figures-involved spin, presented
to an audience of policy-makers working in
the creative industries.
Telecommunications Seminar 2007
of Indiana, Bloomington, USA.
This is an extensive talk that covers a great
deal of virtual world theory, which I gave to
the Telecommunications Department at the University of Indiana.
It's an updated version of a talk I'd given at the
University of Teesside the previous year.
Most of the audience were savvy in the ways of
virtual worlds, so I was able to dive into the
subject in depth. It's very long, though, so I
prepared a shorter version, too.
Postgraduate Games Conference 2008
As I was talking primarily to postgraduates, I put together
this talk as a morale booster. I don't know if it worked, but
I myself came away feeling better for it!
Living Game Worlds 2008
I was invited to sit on a panel of not-dead-yet virtual world pioneers (me, Randy Farmer,
Pavel Curtis, Brian Green), and by way of introducing myself was asked to give a short presentation.
This is it.
ENISA-FORTH Summer School 2009
This summer school covered a wide variety of issues to do with network and
information security (including privacy). I was there to talk about the specific
problems virtual worlds have in this area. I spoke for about 50% longer than I was
supposed to, and although much of what I said was already known to the MMO
industry (hence my classification of it as a minor presentation) it was quite
new to most of the audience.
Digital Shoreditch is a week-long games festival in the East End of London. I was
invited to speak at the Gamification event, and gave a 25-minute presentation on
the topic. This is it.
London Business School Marketing Club
This is a short presentation given to the Marketing Club of the London Business School, prior
to a panel discussion. The panel subject was "Games and Marketing: What's the Score?",
for which I was instructed to give a shorter version of my Digital Shoreditch
I was asked to make this talk be about the uses and abuses of my Player Type model in social
and casual games. It's probably too short a message for a 50-minute talk, though, and I feel
the result is somewhat repetitive.
University of Lincoln.
In this talk, which was for a varied audience from undergraduate to postgraduate level
and beyond, I describe how players' perception of cheating depends on what player type
A short, invited talk I gave at Jagex Ltd., talking about options for free-to-play revenue models.
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, London.
Mainly a reduced-length rehash of earlier Gamification talks, aimed at an advertising industry audience.
University of Lincoln.
This talk explains how games are used to generate stories, and why it's this aspect of
games that makes them more important than novels. Yes, it is a big claim...
University of Essex.
This is a general talk aimed at postgraduates studying for PhDs, using my experience with
games to talk about their role in their future career.
Digital and Technology Weekend
King Edward's Grammar School, Chelmsford.
This is a composition of two earlier talks, in which I describe a bit about the history
of MMOs and use this as a lever to try inspire would-be undergraduates to follow their
hearts and minds.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
This was the third attempt I had at writing a talk to Casual Connect, having been
invited to speak. It concerns how I see casual games going in future. I would have
liked more time (talks were only 20 minutes this time) but I got most of the main
Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
This talk is about Gamification for Information Retrieval. As I know nothing about
either, the talk picks apart the Call for Papers for the conference and sees what
deeper points it makes. Yes, there are some...
This was a talk on innovation in game design to people who already knew how to innovate
in game design. It therefore morphed into a talk about why game designers design and
why they're needed, in so doing validating all the designers present and making the
non-designers less than happy. It concludes by suggesting that innovation won't really
be unsuppressed until game development becomes a project-by-project exercise like
The objective of this talk was to show that some of the things that the games industry wants
from Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence figured out decades ago but it's
become unfashionable. I was asked to expand on an earlier talk on games and AI that I'd
given at an event at Essex University but seem not to have uploaded here...
I only had 20 minutes for this talk, which is revamped riff from my 2010
GDC Online talk. The audience was very knowledgeable,
too, which led to a pile of questions afterwards.
Minories Gallery, Colchester.
This is a talk for an intelligent but general audience on the subject of why people play
games rather than reading books. It's based on a presentation I gave at
Lincoln University the previous year.
University of Kent.
This is a near clone of my CEEC talk from a couple of years earlier, for a similar
audience at a different university.
Cologne Game Lab
This was commissioned as part of a series of talks on how games and film can change people, but because
fire regulations delayed the opening of the lecture theatre it became stand-alone instead and
just for the Game Labd. It's an abridged version of my talk on why people play MMOs, but with added
vim at the end to address the how-games-change-people question.
Ludwig Maximilian University
This is a talk about game skills and simulation skills, which ultimately concerns
the relationship between games-as-art and games-as-education. It uses the former
to explain why games aren't all that good at the latter.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
A collection of pieces of other talks, stitched together to address the question as
to why people who make games make games. It's basically asking people who are well on
the way to forging a career in games to consider why they want a career in games, so
they reflect on what they're doing more.
KDU University College
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The students at KDU had been introduced to my Player Types model the previous
semester, so this talk looked at ways it can be used and abused. It's made up of
components of some of my other talks on various aspects of Player Types.
User Acquisition Summit
This is a pictures-only talk for the User Acquisition Society, in which
I give a very brief overview of Player Types in the hope that it
might give practitioners a way to look at using them for acquisition
(rather than retention, their usual usage).
British Library, London.
As this was part of a panel on tool creation for interactive fiction, I only had
a few slides. I used these to say a (very) little about MUDDLE, the language in
which MUD2 is written.
University of Essex.
This talk extends the one from WordPlay (see above) to talk rather more about
MUDDLE and its predecessor MUDDL. It was to members of the Games Hub, which is
located at the University of Essex but isn't part of it; nevertheless, several
of its members are students or former students, so they knew some of the
This is an overview of the AI techniques becoming available for games these days.
It's non-technical, but aims to act as a taster for people to see if anything
resonates with what they're doing. The consensus seemed to be that it did, but
most companies didn't have anyone who could do it...
This is a composite of other pep talks I've given on the topic of what people on
game design courses need to do and how they can influence the future.
After frightening everyone at Casual connect last year with my talk on AI, this
time I reverted to a safer topic, that of Player Types. I explained why it is
that some people think others are cheating while those accused don't think
they're cheating at all. It's basically my Lincoln talk with
extra links to Bernard Suits' work from 1978 to show my erudition...
This talk concerned what games can teach, and as such included slides from
my other talks about what games can teach. It emphasises using games to
teach high-order problem-solving skills. After the presentation there was a
discussion that went on for about an hour and was really rather good, but
I didn't record it.
British Computer Society
This is a revised version of the IEEE Conference on Games paper I delivered. Most slides are the same, with the differences being minor.
In this everyone-used-Zoom presentation, I discuss the concept of realisticness in
virtual worlds and what unrealisticness means. Most of the reasons for breaking
realisticness are a bad idea, but some are legitimate. It's based on a
paper I wrote, which in turn derived from a
that I largely extracted from my at-the-time-unpublished book, How to Be a God.
I only had 10 minutes for this talk, the first five of which were
an introduction. It therefore only makes one point.
For tracking purposes, here's presntns.ris. This and the hidden COiNS lines that follow are courtesy of Thomas Sim.