My Week At GDC

Last week I went to the Game Developer Conference and met a lot of great people in addition to gaining valuable insight into the video game industry. To those who haven’t been to GDC before, it’s crucial you understand that it’s more business oriented than consumer based like PAX. That said there are a lot of games and parties to partake in so it’s not all work and no play. Here are some of my highlights from the show I witnessed over five action-packed days.

The You’ve Got Game Show
A new addition this year, The You’ve Got Game Show reminded me of a Jeopardy. I caught a few rounds while waiting for the expo floor to open and it looked like a lot of fun. Questions ranged from the easy stuff like which game description matches Far Cry 3 to the more obscure related ones about the history of World of Warcraft. As an audience member, I noticed to do well on this show you definitely not only have to possess a strong gaming knowledge, but also a good deal of luck. Hope this comes back next year and maybe finds a larger audience on Twitch or something.

New games and hardware
Sadly I didn’t get a chance to try Sony’s VR headset Project Morpheus, but I did get some hands-on time with Valve’s Steam controller. I found it surprisingly comfortable for games like Strider and Broken Age. While impressive, I personally think the 360 controller is just fine for PC games, and I’m still not sold on the Steam Box due to it being cheaper to just build your own gaming rig. I also got to play a lot of indie game from mobile developers while networking at parties and on the show floor. Too many good ones to list, but I look forward to downloading some to play later for my commute.

Cool retro stuff
The Nintendo Museum was really cool and brought back fond memories of playing Super Nintendo from my youth. I had never seen Rob the Robot or the original Famicom up close, so it was awesome to see both up close for the first time. Besides the museum, there was a cool lobby area dedicated to old Star Wars game where I got to play one of my first N64 games Shadow of the Empire during my downtime. Next year I’d like to see a Final Fantasy, or Metal Gear museum.

Parties and meeting people

I skipped out on the GDC parties last year because I was more focused on the expo floor, but I’m glad I went to as many as I could this time. There had to be something like seven parties every night and I set a new personal record of 10 in one week. The parties turned out to be an excellent place to network, play games, get free drinks/dinner and unwind from the daily grind of GDC. Most of them were near downtown San Francisco, but I went to one at AT&T Ballpark which was really cool since I hadn’t been there before. Other were at clubs like the Grand where I met the famous actor Michael Ironside, the voice of Sam Fisher in Splinter Cell.

Panels
What I got to go to was limited compared to PAX, I couldn’t get into many of the panels since I only had an expo pass. However, I did go to one good panel titled “How to not to get into the game industry” organized by recruiters which turned out to be very helpful and gave me some applicable information I can apply to my own job search.

Well, GDC 2014 is a wrap. The convention was one of the most well-organized expos I’ve ever been to, and If I ever get the chance, I’d like to try GDC China in the future. GDC 2015 I’ll see you next year. Next up is Macworld.

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