The Evolution of Play
As the gaming world increasingly emphasizes the importance of storytelling, audiences are hungry for gaming experiences that incorporate strong narratives and give them an active role to play. In this conversation, leaders working on the cutting-edge of gaming technology will make a compelling case for narrative-driven games and discuss what storytellers can learn from gaming to craft immersive, participatory experiences.

10/7, 11:00am-12:00pm
Chris Grant (Moderator) - Editor-in-Chief, Polygon
Chris Grant is the cofounder and editor in chief of Polygon, overseeing a team of journalists covering all facets of the video game industry, from the people who make them to the players who love them. He's spoken about video games at MIT, Stanford, and the Smithsonian and has appeared on CNN, BBC, NPR, Bloomberg, and elsewhere discussing the art and industry of gaming. Before joining Vox Media, Chris served as editor in chief of AOL's Joystiq. He lives in Philadelphia with a growing collection of video game consoles and works in New York City.

Sam Barlow - Executive Creative Director, Interlude
Sam Barlow is a game director and writer who has been making games since his cult 1999 title, Aisle. Barlow has an extensive history of making games that create deep personal connections with their players. With Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, he created a classic that psychologically profiled Wii gamers. In 2015, he released Her Story, reinventing the FMV genre for the YouTube generation. Now at Eko, Barlow is exploring the new medium of interactive streaming video to create the next generation of stories.

Dan Pinchbeck - Creative Director / Studio Head, The Chinese Room
Dan Pinchbeck is the Creative Director of The Chinese Room (TCR), a game development studio based in Brighton, UK. TCR's first game, Dear Esther, was released in 2012 to popular and critical acclaim, winning multiple international awards and kickstarting the genre of gaming now called First-Person Explorers or Walking Simulators. In 2013, the company followed up with Amnesa: A Machine for Pigs, an unashamedly literary cult horror that once again garnered awards and acclaim. In 2015, TCR released their first console title, the openworld, story-driven science-fiction mystery Everybody's Gone to the Rapture. It was an instant critical smash, securing a place as one of the best games of 2015 and winning numerous international awards, including three BAFTAs. Pinchbeck works as a writer and designer on TCR's titles and has lectured internationally on game design and storytelling. He is currently a visiting professor at The University of Portsmouth and wrote a PhD on gameplay and story in First-Person Shooters.

Lance Weiler - Director of Digital Storytelling Lab, Columbia University
An alumni of the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, Lance Weiler is recognized as a pioneer in mixing storytelling and technology. Wired magazine named him “one of 25 people helping to reinvent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood.” Weiler has designed experiences that have reached millions of people via theaters, mobile devices, and online. In 2011, he was nominated for an International Emmy in digital fiction for his work on Collapsus: The Energy Risk Conspiracy. In addition, he is a founding member and director of the Columbia University School of the Arts' Digital Storytelling Lab.