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Conference Simulator 2K (2022)

Triple channel video game installation

Conference Simulator 2K explores cultural anxieties around depression, disassociation and isolation in postmodern networked spaces. These sentiments are embodied in two troubled gamer characters attending the QuakeCon 2000 competitive gaming convention, struggling to find fulfilment within their escapist fantasies.

QuakeCon's setting, the Mesquite Convention Centre in Texas, serves as a representation of Marc Augé’s idea of non-place, and its significance to postmodernity. The virtual space was designed based on photos from the event, depicting rows and rows of beige CRT monitors in a large, dimly lit room, and a large, anachronistic, fake castle placed within the space for the purpose of promoting the competitive multiplayer videogame, Quake 3: Arena. The images have a haunting, eerie quality which was intended to carry through to the game world.

The work references janky dialogue-based RPGs in its stylistic and mechanical design - placing interest in the ways multiple-choice dialogue systems enable gamers to enact a sense of personality, or ideological viewpoint in a player character.

In Conference Simulator 2K, a player can convince the two gamer characters to overcome their social anxiety and meet each other, but the player is also able to upset the characters, preventing them from meeting a potential friend.

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