Until I attended GDC, game industry was a mystery to me. I felt I belonged there, despite the fact that I could only follow its trails on the internet. Now it makes more sense: There are AAA game companies, there are social games, and there are mobile games, and of course indie games and gameplay experimenters (also game journalists, researchers and writers). Everyone knows that these types of games and their developers exist, but in GDC, one can definitely see and feel the separations between them, their differences in motivations and cultural characteristics. You can then ask yourself who you really want to be, and where you will take part.
1. Experimental Gameplay Sessions: There were sessions on 11 games by their developers. As the name implies, the games presented extreme ideas on gameplay. Each of them created a world of its own, in a different dimension, neither alike. It is unexplainable, 2.5 hours full of surprise and interest. If you want to know more, you can read the article on Gamasutra.
2. GDC Microtalks: Each of the speakers were given 5 minutes to convey her message. This created pressure on the speaker to compress the ideas as an expressively narrated sequence of images. I think the conditions encouraged them to be more direct and sincere, thus allowing the listeners to quickly get to know them, and better too.
3. Game Critics Rant: The speakers were game journalists, presenting their views on the game industry. I believe the speakers could see things the industry could not, or did not want to see by itself, because they were media, and also because they were outsiders.
If you are going to GDC, my advice is that you would…
- Go to IGF and IGF Mobile booths in the Expo. Play the games and talk to their developers.
- Attend Experimental Gameplay Sessions and remember the games presented.
- Check the bookshop for books written by speakers you just listened to.
- Focus on what is being done than what is already finished.
I am thankful to IGDA for providing the scholarship; Bob Zasio, my mentor, for his guidance and sincerity; and other scholars for accepting me as their friend.