Chris Hecker's talk may have been the highlight of the Leadership Forum. (http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=26077) Both entertaining and thought provoking, and in some ways I have to admit he's right - if we want games to be the top art form of the next century, the way movies were for the last, then we have a long way to go.
That said: do we want that? I also attended Scott Crabtree's talk on happiness in the workplace, where he, quoting someone else, said something along the lines of "don't compare yourselves to others, because you'll be both bitter and vain - bitter because you're worse than some and vain because you're better than others." We could get swollen heads because we've overtaken amusement park rides in our artness and at the same time lament that we're not movies. Best not to think such thoughts if we want to be happy.
But I suppose artists aren't known for happiness. If we do want to kick film's ass, Chris isn't the only one who has said what makes games special is the interactivity, and so interactivity is where our art must lie. Wait a minute - what makes movies special, and is that where their art lies? What if movies didn't exist, and Casablanca was made instead as a play...? It would still be great art, wouldn't it? I'll admit Citizen Kane had to be a movie (I never did appreciate Citizen Kane) but Casablanca? Thought experiment: what if you make a game (or a theme park ride) that has a linear narrative that is as meaningful and important and resonant as Casablanca...?
I'll talk more about other conference stuff later.