A Piece of the Action

Previewing the Game On! Texas symposium

We're not taking it personally that this Wednesday's miniconference of gaming developers and educators, Game On! Texas, has a name startlingly similar to the Chronicle's gaming gathering last year called Game On Austin. There's no arguing with an exclamation point; in fact, we can feel the excitement from here.

Perhaps that emphatic punctuation is due to keynote speaker and reigning governor of Texas Rick Perry. Don't expect him to say anything too groundbreaking, but the man has had the Texas gaming industry's back for years. We predict a rehash of his keynote speech at the mother of all gaming conferences, E3, back in 2008 – something along the lines of: "Texas is God's gift to the planet ... video games make us money ... future of entertainment ... want to have a bigger gaming scene than California ... you've been a great audience ... good night."

The focus of the conference will be on Texas' efforts to create a qualified work force to fill all those well-paying jobs that Perry is bringing to the state through the Texas Film Commission's inclusion of interactive arts in the film incentives program. Panels touch on how to parlay kids' interest in video games into educational opportunities, from grade school to collegiate programs at Baylor, UT Dallas, and Southern Methodist University's Guildhall. UT Austin still has work to do if it wants to game with the big boys.

Other names on the agenda include Warren Spector, founder of Ion Storm's Austin branch and currently at Disney Interactive Studios; Richard Vogel of BioWare; and Rep. Mark Strama. If these names and studios don't mean anything to you, then you probably won't want to put down the $95 to register. If they do, then, by all means, game on. Make that "game on!"

The Game On! Texas conference is Wednesday, April 7, 9am-5pm, at the AMD Lone Star Campus (7171 Southwest Pkwy.). Register online at www.bit.ly/gameon2010.

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Game On! Texas, Rick Perry, Game On Austin, Warren Spector, Ion Storm, Richard Vogel, BioWare, Mark Strama

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