tiistai 20. elokuuta 2013

Finncon 2013: CyberSunday

Okay... so, this has taken a bit longer than we first thought. But in our defense we have done other things also so you have that. I've had to work and Korppisusi wrote an article for Geek Girls.

But finally here it is. The final part of our Finncon 2013 report.

After a nice and relaxing ten hours of sleep.
After getting couple of hours of sleep we again shuffled ourselves in our zombie-like state to breakfast. I had to eat fairly quickly because my presentation started at 10 am. Or at least it should have started.

The saturdays masquerade had been at the same programming hall my presentation was to be in and because of that it was still in the process of being converted back to use for lecture programming when I got there.

So I helped quickly to set up the table and run the required wires for microphones and the video projector. I also had my own laptop to set up so it took a few minutes. It really wasn't anything dramatic but because of it I started my programming 5 or 10 minutes late.

Kromia ja nahkaa: Cyberpunk tietokonepeleissä
(Chrome and leather: Cyberpunk in Computer Games)

So this probably should be the easiest programming number to write about because it's mine but it's always kinda hard to tell how well your own program goes. I personally felt I could have done a bit better because even though I had two programming hours for my lecture I still ran out of time and had to speed through some of the games.

The basics
My modest idea was to go through every interesting cyberpunk game released. But because I like doing things properly I wanted to talk only about games I had personally played. Which means that I have been playing a lot of games through the spring. Of course there were few games which were part of series that I couldn't get my hands on but those I only mentioned passingly.

Like I have so many times before promised I have the intention to do a bigger post about the lecture itself. But this time I really do mean it. Unfortunately because my lecture and most of the material was in Finnish so will be the upcoming blog post. There's around one hour of video material from the games to upload so it will take a while before it's ready to be published.

Older adventure/roleplaying game
Apparently though the audience (or at least part of it) did enjoy the lecture because afterwards I did get very positive comments from a few people. Even the gopher who said that she doesn't play games herself told that the lecture was entertaining. Feedback is always nice thing to get and positive feedback even more so.

But hopefully people who missed at the Finncon it will be able to enjoy it later here. And if anyone happened to see the program in Finncon please feel free to leave a comment. Even critical ones will be appreciated (probably...)

 Written by Korppisusi


Kriitikot vs bloggarit
(Critics vs bloggers)

I arrived a bit late to the hall, the program had already started. At first I was a bit dumbfounded, because the panelists seemed to fling a lot of accusations and strong adverse opinions to each other. I didn't know what to think and I felt a bit unconfortable but decided, that there were some information that I had missed.

As it were, the first 15 minutes were dedicated to a fiery debate where the participants voiced opinions that weren't entirely (or at all)  their own. The opinions reflected on the supposed divide between critics and bloggers that was introduced in a newspaper article that caused a bit of a stir.

The first 15 minutes included following claims among others: critics are just pawns of culture elite, bloggers don't have same kind of ethics as professional critics, bloggers get invites to publishers' wild parties and lose their moral compass and that critics are just as subjective as bloggers.

After that the panel was conversation and dialogue between the two parties and there were some really good comments from the audience too. It was interesting to hear about the very very short word limit the critiques have and wholeheartedly agree that bloggers' texts should not be viewed as a critic. They are introductions, reflections and esseys about the reading experience without word limits.

Two bloggers on the left (Liina Poropudas, Anmari Viljamaa)
Three critics on the right (Markku Soikkeli, Vesa Sisättö, Jussi Ahlroth)

I personally find it a bit weird that some of the publishers now use excerpts from blogs in their cover blurbs. Have they asked permission or is it under fair use? It is weird just because the texts usually reflect the imdividual reading experience and because there are so many book blogs around, that the name might not mean anything to an avarage book buyer.

All in all this was a really interesting and lively panel and it was really good idea that this was in the program when the topic was still fresh.

Nörttitytöt esittää: Äitejä, huoria ja neitsyeitä
(Geek Girls present: Mothers, whores and virgins)

After the critics versus bloggers we took a little break from the program because we wanted to see the art exhibition and do some shopping. We ended up buying a bit more that we planned to because there were just so many good books!

After our shopping tour we hurried to see the next piece of programming. The editors of Geek Girls-blog had a two hour lecture about how women are portrayed in popular culture. The hall was really packed when we arrived and I got a seat that didn't have good visibility to the stage.

Geek Girls presenting the Jungian archetypes

The lecture started with introduction to Carl Jung's arhetypal characters with ample examples from popular culture. Then it went on describing female characters on the axel of whore-virgin. I found it a bit odd that although the archetype mother was at the program's headline, it was actually described as a sub-archetype belonging either into a whore category or a virgin category, same as a couple of other types of characters.

Unfortunately this was the point where we had to leave, because we wanted to see the Definite gadget panel. The program was really interesting though and fortunately it is available as a sound file at the Geek Girls-website. I hope we will see a lot more Geek Girls Presents-program items in the future!

 Written by Grandpa Cthulhu

Definitiivinen härpäke-paneeli
(The Definitive Gadget panel)

So we had to leave the Geek Girls -lecture early even though it was really good but kinda like bimbo panel the definitive something panel has been part of our Finncon tradition for years. Because Petri Hiltunen.

Yes, yes. I'm still a terrible fanboy but his programs are so damn entertaining so I will be very unapologetic about it.

This year's panel was about gadgets. And I'll have begin with saying that one hour was not nearly enough for this panel topic. Because of some technical goofs at some point of the panel the number of the slide in view started to show and apparently at the end of the panel we had barely reached midpoint of them.

Definitive panelist ca. 2013
As usual the panel was chaired by Petri Hiltunen and his panelists were Vesa Sisättö, Veikko Laeslehto, Hannu Blommila and as a special expert Markku Salonen. The panelist were again very funny and perceptive and everyone had something to say about the various gadgets discussed.

But I'd have to say that the standout panelist was the gadget specialist Markku Salonen. He was especially entertaining because he had all kinds of different gadgety stuff with him and he played with them during the panel.

The panel started with a preposition that the gadgets in modern popular culture are a continuation from fairy tales and the magical items in them. Of course even more so when talking about fantasy genre. Maybe this was a fairly obvious point but I'll have to admit never having thought about it before.

One of the major differences pointed out between the classical fairy tale gadgets and modern ones was that the ones used in fairy tales had always only a single useful purpose, whereas many modern gadgets at least have few possible uses.     

Insides of a lightsaber
Among the gadgets the panelists discussed were real life spy-gadgets and the gadgets of various spy movies especially James Bond, lightsabers and other laser swords, various different gadgety transportations (jetpacks!) and quite obviously the sonic screwdriver. 

As a whole it was a really good definitive panel and my only real gripe is that the time wasn't nearly enough for this topic. It's a real shame because there probably won't be another definitive gadget-panel in the future but one with another topic all together. Hopefully they will be as good and intresting as this one was! (Well, they almost certainly will)

Finncon 2014 esittäytyy ja Lopettajaiset
(Finncon 2014 introduction and the ending ceremony)

After the definitive gadget panel we decided to do quick tour around the vendor area and maybe also do some last minute shopping. Unsuprisingly we did find stuff to buy and because they only took cash which we didn't have, I had to do a quick run to the nearby subway station atm.

Because our quick tour turned out to be not so quick we were a bit late to the ending ceremony. When we arrived Mr. Jukka Halme was still doing his jukkahalme-thing apparently because one his partners-in-crime aka co-chairs of Finncon hadn't arrived from dinner break.

The Jukka Halme
Of course he did manage to wrap up the convention nicely and I thought the slideshow behind him showing images from the convention was a really nice touch. All in all it was a traditional ending ceremony, there weren't any big dramatic suprises or anything like that. Thanks were said to all parties, applaudes were given and most importantly the symbolic torch was passed to the organizers of next years Finncon in Jyväskylä.

But in the end this year's Finncon was over. It had ceased to be. It was a bit of a melancholic moment. But all hope was not lost because we had thought about this in advance and had been prepared for it. We had booked our hotel room till monday so we still had the dead dog party to look forward to.

Although first we had to have something to eat. So yet again, we headed for the Yeti Nepal restaurant. Because the food really was that good the first time around. And we weren't disappointed this time either.

Dead dog party and afterthoughts

Quick infodump for those who don't know. Dead dog parties are after convention parties for people who have participated in organizing the convention. That means main organizers, security, gophers, program people and usually also the Guests of honours.

Not quite dead
 It's a chance to relax, catch up with people, have a little time to chat, enjoy some (or usually a lot) of alchol and things like that. This year we had a lot of fun there. Finnish fandom people just are the Best. I'm not going to say who did what or with whom did we hang out but I just wanted to say couple of things that came to mind.

First of all, and this kinda applies to almost every convention party we've been to, but really there should be 1:1 ratio of beer to ciders/long drinks. They seem to run always out of them first. And no, we won't start drinking beer. Actually, if we were talking beer that was served I maybe could be bothered in a pinch but you know, it was kaljaa. Although the ciders this year were really good!

Not this shit though
The second thing was just praise for this years organizers for having a warm food at the dead dog (even including vegetarian option, yay!).We had eaten beforehand because we hadn't been informed that there would be actual food at the dead dog. But even so it was a really nice thing and maybe hopefully some future Finncons will do it again.

All in all this year's Finncon was really damn good. If there were any problems during the convention they weren't apparent to visitors, unlike in some past events (*cough*Turku*cough*). We had a ton of fun with everyone and the organizers really do deserve a billion thanks for making such an awesome convention!

Only on our way back to Tampere the next day I realized that this had been my 10th Finncon. After my first taste of Finncon in 2003 I have been to every single one and really don't see myself stopping in the near or any other future.

As a first timer I felt this was pretty well organized con
And everyone else interested in science fiction and fantasy should go too, nevermind if you're a fan of literature or movies or television or games there will be something for you. The fandom is really inclusive and if you don't know anyone you can always try gophering: it's easy and a really good way to get familiar with people.   

I really don't know why or how this suddenly turned to a recruitment pitch for conventions but fandom activity does strange things to ones mind. So try it!

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