GDC 2013 Review

I feel like writing a blog post about my experience at GDC this year is necessary to my recovery from it, something so that I can continue to get work done and restart all of my hanging projects.
The speed at which GDC proceeds has left me with mostly glimpses, so that is what I am going to relay here. An exhaustive minute to minute experience probably wouldn’t be that useful anyways.
Before GDC even started proper I heard a rape joke. It wasn’t even a joke, just someone using rape as an adjective in a way that was intended to get a shock laugh (I think this is a common rape joke structure). I learned later that this was someone whose work I had been pretty into, which is a bit frustrating. This wasn’t the only instance of this kind of thing happening at the conference, just the first one that I heard. I didn’t call him out on this, maybe I should have, but I let it slide.
This thing was counterbalanced by all the bits of the conference that seemed focused on making stuff better for marginalized people and non commercial interests. Yann pointed out the difficulty with holding both the 5 story posters for battlefield 4 and the talk about free indie games in your mind at once. Like GDC was using all of the indie game stuff to validate all of the other more commercial / problematic work that was going on.
Lost Levels was one of the amazing bits on the non-commercial end of the scale, it provided a great section of passionate people talking about issues that couldn’t necessarily exist within the main structure of GDC. I was totally impressed by the organizers of that thing, along with all the speaker that I managed to see. I was sliding into a low blood sugar haze during the event, but what I was present for was really amazing and I appreciated it. I am looking forward to more of this type of thing if I end up going to GDC again. It felt like a really important thing that should be part of every corporate focused gaming event. The lack of a projector was also brilliant, and forced people to rely on words, which was something that could get lost during the more visually focused main conference.
The few talks that I made it to were also pretty great, the aforementioned free indie games talk, and the rants session and parts of the experimental gameplay workshop. The rants session in particular, and Anna Anthropy’s reading / remix of Romero’s Wives was completely amazing. It summed up so much that is wrong with the culture that surrounds making games, and was completely crushing in person.
We were lucky enough to have a ton of people with us and helping this time, particularly Yann and Kristina that did the thankless work of running the booth while I sat around on the lawn. I should also mention that the most important part was as it always is, meeting new people and catching up with old friends. I don’t want to leave anyone out though, so I am just going to leave everyone out.
The game of the week was by far an unreleased two player competitive game by Harry Lee. Hopefully he will post it in some playable form at some point. It reminded me that simple could be amazing, and that there is room for academic thoughts about psychology and bluffing within high speed games.
Also my sister made her first video game that week, in a competition with Sos over who could make the most terrible game.

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