GDCeems like only yesterday…

GDCAnd thus another year’s Game Developer’s Conference has come and gone.  I was going to post some photos, but after digging through my camera roll, it seems that I didn’t take as many as I remembered, and none of them turned out terribly well.  So instead, I’m just going to skip the pictures, and use only text.  And take you there, gentle reader, through the magic of reading!!

So, some highlights:

Indie Meetups:

There were a lot of indies in attendance, and it was tremendous fun putting faces to names that I’d only see on forums or emails.  In addition, had a lot of neat, independent games/current projects around to show off.  Saw a lot of really cool stuff, and played a lot of really cool things, and met a lot of really cool people.

Gamma 4:

This was, all things considered, pretty rad.  There were some great one-button games, a lot of cool people, and a great time.  I had the usual problem of being kind of hoarse the next morning, but that’s the price you pay for loud parties.  Personal highlight:  Playing a game that encouraged friends to physically try to take controllers from each other.

IGF

Holy crap the games this year were amazing.  Limbo in particular had some great art direction behind it.  I was a little sorry that RocketBirds Revolution and Shank didn’t win anything, just because I loved the art for both so much.  If only they could all win!  As always, I find it completely impossible to attend without coming away very excited about making games for another year.

Best accidentally great moment:

Wandered into a talk at GDC on doing game design without a computer, only to discover that the speaker was Brenda Brathwaite, and her talk was in large part about Train, a game she designed about the Holocaust.  (Which, in spite of sounding like an idea in terribly poor taste, is actually a pretty amazing accomplishment, and will most likely be a major talking point in future “can games be art?” discussions.)

She had a lot of really interesting thoughts on games, and messages behind them.  Her talk was interesting, insightful, and she received a standing ovation at the end.  Not a bad thing to end up at, considering that I only ended up in the room because the talk I had planned to go to was full.  (I really need to get better at reading the schedule more carefully – Every time I find something like this randomly, I wonder how equally great things I never even heard about.)

Best Reveal:

So on the schedule, there was a talk entitled “The Metaphysics of Game Design”, by “Phaedrus”.  It wasn’t listed anywhere in the program guide however, and no one seemed to know what it was about.  Theories abounded, ranging from “It’s some corporation, the Phaedrus Group, and it’s a giant adver-session”, to “he’s probably a rogue AI.”  Still, I went because I am the sort of person who likes a good mystery and is willing to risk disappointment if there is at least a chance that it will be awesome.  (Also, it was the last talk of the last day, and I figured if it was terrible, I’d just head home early.)

It turned out Phaedrus was Will Wright.  It was awesome.  He delivered the sort of fast-paced, multi-topic talk that only he (and sometimes Chris Hecker) are able to deliver.  The talk was great, and it was the perfect ending to a marvelous GDC.

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