I will not deny that I was a little nervous for my first trip to the Middle East… When I first got the invite to keynote the MENA Games Conference in Beirut, I was honored but also a bit trepidatious. All was for not, as the trip was wonderful with nary a scare.
Several hundred game industry types descended upon Beirut, Lebanon for the first ever developer focused conference in the region. The event started to great fanfare, with the Minister of Telecom opening the conference and announcing the government’s support for the game industry.
MENA Games was well organized, especially for a first time event, and collected developers and industry folks from across the entire region. The Arab Game Jam had teams from Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Bahrain, etc. It was a great introduction to a high potential region.
Originally published by RealtyPanic.com
Photos by Jason Della Rocca
About Jason Della Rocca
Jason Della Rocca (born 1974) is the former executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA): Della Rocca supervised the daily operations, outreach initiatives, and membership programs of the organization from September 2000 to March 2009. After leaving the IGDA, Della Rocca founded Perimeter Partners, a consultancy that provides strategic level guidance and expertise to companies and organizations in, and around, the game industry globally. More recently, Della Rocca cofounded a hybrid incubator/accelerator for independent mobile game startups called Execution Labs. In the summer of 2013 he was appointed to the advisory board for the ICT practice of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada's foreign and trade ministry.
Della Rocca is a well-known figure within the game development community and was honored for his industry building efforts with the inaugural Ambassador Award at the 8th annual Game Developers Choice Awards. Della Rocca was also named to Game Developer Magazine's 2009 "The Game Developer 50", a list which profiles 50 of the most important contributors to the current state of the game industry.
Della Rocca used the phrase "massacre chaser" in response to an inquiry from MSNBC reporter Winda Benedetti discussing Jack Thompson's quick blaming of video games as the root of the Virginia Tech massacre.