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GDC 2013: A Prologue

So, GDC 2013 is officially underway (though the show floor won’t be open until this Wednesday). Arriving early (yesterday) I’ve gotten opportunity to get a lay of the land, walk the convention center, and get started on my pre-party drinking  -- we’ll be attending several events throughout the week that offer drinks and socializing. Today (and tomorrow) are primarily about the panels. Opportunity to see the industry insiders talk in-depth about their roles in video game development, and offer up the wisdom of age (in some cases; the view-point of first-timers in others).

From a “news” perspective, there’s not a lot going on here today (though I’m sure that’ll change as the day rolls on and more panels progress). However, I did want to indulge a little again this year in my first-person style journalism and provide the experience from a personal point of view…

If you followed us last year, you know that I posted an article which was banged out while killing a couple of hours in a Seattle Airport, waiting on a connecting flight. By comparison, this might seem a little premature… It seems to me like a lot of people (primarily myself) have a tendency to become a little jaded about the industry, we fall victim to complacency just like everyone else. It’s hard to keep up that child-like wonder of the world of video games and video game development day-in and day-out for years on end…

Which is why I wanted to post now, today, before anything else happens, this simple thought: GDC is that place where we all come together, to gather and give each other that renewed sense of wonder that we all used to have (and have, more than likely, eroded over the past year).

I’ve only been to two panels so far today. A panel about the indie title FRACT (given by Richard Flanagan), which took us through two years in the life of a first-time developer; trying to push out a passion project to share with the world of gaming and music enthusiasts. It included all of the ups and down, the problems and successes he and his “team” (consisting of his wife and a single programmer) have experienced during their first foray into the field.

The second was by Anna Kipnis (Double Fine and The MolyJam) who detailed how a series of Twitter jokes became one of the biggest, most successful, and hilarious video game jams world-wide. She walked us through the process of creating a game-jam from the ground up, out of a sense of responsibility she felt when she (jokingly) suggested (via Twitter) that people needed to make more games based on the satirical tweets of the parody Peter Molyneux account (@Molydeux).

The reason I bring these up, the reason that I’m posting (without any kind of legitimate news to provide on what’s next in the industry) is because I’m already starting to feel re-invigorated by the industry.

I got into writing originally because I was excited about the idea of meeting the people behind the games, and primarily the idea of doing it in a social setting. I wrote my first article (about E3 and the news provided during it) on a personal blog after hearing the team at Joystiq pod-cast pool-side from Los Angeles about what they’d experienced that day.

I mention it in every interview I’ve conducted (of myself) and try to push that ideal onto the new people that are working their way into the industry for themselves (and who ask for advice). My goal is to make this industry (at least on our end) a little more social and personal. I love articles that showcase personal experiences and opinions. I’ve strived to be one of those that provide a ‘backstage pass’ to the industry. So, in that vein, I wanted to say this:

GDC is the convention that anyone, new or old, should make a point to attend (if you want to work in the industry, or have been for years). It’s the only time I really get the ‘community’ vibe out of the industry.

Day-to-day we all take our sides, we tell our stories or promote our product and we get work done. It’s no different than any other job (other than you’re getting to talk about and work on video games) and it is as wearing as anything else you do every, single, day. GDC is something that offers us all, in every single role of this industry, a chance to talk as people. We share ideas, strategies (and drinks). It’s encouraging and inspiring, and it offers an immediate effect (as demonstrated by this article).

It’s my hope that I continue to share that with you (the reader) excitement, enthusiasm, and inspiration through-out the week as I have these experiences and hold onto that moving forwards as well. (And of course, I will keep an ear to the ground for any news to come out of the show as well).