Burning Embers: My First GDC
So as you all know last week was GDC, but what made it so special was that this was my first video game convention/conference thingy ever! My week of GDC, let me tell you about it.
The week started off cold, dreary, and my allergies were acting up. Monday was a drag as there was not much to do, it was cold outside, and I had neglected to bring my heavy jacket. I was excited to receive my press badge and swag but the swag was a pain to carry around. There were panels that I went to just to hear the people talk and see if I could pick up anything from them. Nothing, nothing at all. Lunch came quick that day and I met a guy from Playdom. We chatted for a bit and he suggested that I attend a couple of the panels being done by two different Playdom employees. I attended one and it was a bit dry. Day one ended, and I was most grateful.
Day two came around and it was a bit better than day one. I had something for my allergies and I brought my heavy jacket, things were going smoothly. I checked out GDC play a bit that day and attended some more panels, none of which I was too highly interested in. The expo, from what I could see through the singular door that was open, was coming along and would open the next day. The GDC VIP event came around and I chilled out with Tim (one of the writers here at GotGame) and Ramon (Mr. Senior Editor himself). We chatted for awhile and then went our separate ways when the real parties were about to commence. Me, I went back to the east bay, to home. I was packing up, I had found a couch to crash on over at a friend’s place who was nearby. After returning to the city and settling in I headed off to the EA party and chilled there for a bit. Tired afterwards I headed back to the place where I was staying. It felt as if the slow day hurdle had finally been crossed. Tomorrow would be a better day.
Wednesday came along, I was supposed to get to a breakfast event that morning but being a tired journalist I slept in a bit and didn’t arrive at Moscone until before 9 am when the Flash Forward event was supposed to start. Most of it was drab but there were a few spots in which the presenters where entertaining. One guy made race car sound effects using a crushed up monster can while another sang some sort of children’s song. Oh people in the video game industry, you guys can be so cray cray. Today was a busy day, I had panels I needed to go to and the expo and GDC play to hit up. I was a ferocious beast at GDC Play and the Expo, hitting up indie developers and exchanging a massive amount of business cards. Never had my muscles been used so much in such a short period of time. Despite exhausting myself I got to play a few cool games like Shadow Puppeteer and checked out Miner Wars as well. Shadow Puppeteer is about a boy who’s shadow comes to life and he has to defeat this evil shadow guy (who was based off of Ganondorf). Miner Wars is basically Minecraft in space but not as blocky and seems to have a lot more too it. (review to come later!)
OH OH OH! I shook hands with Notch, and I was so nervous doing so. After his fireside chat, which I had such an excellent seat at, I followed him trying to just shake his hand and say what a great job he was doing except people kept getting to him before I did. Finally I did shake his hand, I felt like a fool but I was SO HAPPY.
Later that night I went to the Riot Games party and had a blast. Met a few new peoples and chatted, or rather tried to chat over the loud music. Nonetheless I came back to my couch that night sufficiently satisfied that I had successfully networked for the first time at that party.
Thursday…oh Thursday was one of those days where you keep going only by some mystical cosmic force. Thursday was the day where I had the most to do. Along with trying to hit up as many people at GDC play before it closed, I was at the expo and had some demos and an interview to do as well. The first thing on my agenda was a Trion Worlds demo but I thought I had an interview that morning, but didn’t, and so had Sebastian, another writer for GotGame, take over for me. Around noon I had a Tera demo, I met two other journalists who were very nice and quite witty themselves. So the demo started and the guys presenting the new stuff that was going on with Tera did one of the most cheesy, but funny, presentations ever. Afterwards the presenters, the two other journalists, and myself played a session where we had to defend an artifact from waves of monsters. We had managed to last ten minutes before the artifact was finally destroyed, which apparently not too many of the people who had tried this survived that long. I had so much fun and I am definitely doing a review of this game for you guys as well.Afterwards I had my free lunch and then headed off to the Square Enix demo in a sketchy part of town. (come on Square Enix, everyone else was in a nice hotel!) Nonetheless, I also had loads of fun here as well playing Quantum Conundrum, checking out Final Fantasy XIII-2 DLC, and taking a look at Square Enix’s first MMO outside of the Final Fantasy series titled Wakfu. I’ll have an article up this week detailing the demo. There is one thing I want to mention about Quantum Conundrum though. Let’s just say that I found the voice actor for Professor Fitz Quadrangle very familiar. (I know something you don’t know!) Moving on, my next venture was an interview with Cristofer Sundber, CEO of Avalanche Studios. No, I was not shaking in my little journalist boots dear readers…well maybe a little. The interview went quite well, although I was giving the typical questions press would ask and had a hard time thinking outside of the box for this interview. Did I mention this was my first in person interview? Anyways, I think the interview went well…now all I have to do is transcribe the interview and post it here for you guys to enjoy! Next up was GDC play where I hit that sucker hard. I think I picked up even more games to review in the last hour that the floor for GDC play was open. (All of you are just so lucky!) The Square Enix cocktail party was up to bat and I think I figured out which type of party I liked best. You see, the club party is a bit more crazy and loud whereas the cocktail party seems more tame and relaxed. I also had a Final Fantasy themed (sort of) drink called the Pink Cosmo. I’m aware it’s probably one of the gayest drinks on the planet but it tasted damn good. I unfortunately couldn’t have more as the bar closed by the time I finished mine. (slow sips!) I finished out the night by trying to find Notch’s party but failed because I couldn’t remember how to get there and taking out a smartphone that late at night in the area I was in was not a good idea. (Come on people! put your parties in nicer parts of town!) Sleep came quick that night.
Friday, the last day of the convention. Today wasn’t a busy day but then again it sort of was. I had to check out what I could at the expo and highly glad I checked out one booth in which I acquired a Kindle Fire as swag.
The Kindle Fire was actually the high point of the week, funny since Friday was the end of GDC. Anyways, I also got to check out World of Warplanes and World of Tanks at the Wargaming booth at the expo. The guys talking about the game were super friendly and I got a flash drive with assets for the game and a couple of t-shirts to boot. I will also be doing a review of these games. I’m a glutton for and I take it all for you dear readers because I care. Anyways, the rest of the day was eventful yet uneventful. Things were shutting down and I was doing my best to talk to as many people at the expo as I could. There were a couple panels that I went to talking about careers in the gaming industry and I got a few good tid bits of advice from them. When my last panel ended it was five o’clock and GDC was officially over. I came home tired but extremely happy and knowing that this had been a most excellent week.