Wow, wow, wow. I have been attending GDC now for 13 years. It's an amazing conference, for many reasons. But first and foremost among them are the people that attend: fellow developers who inspire and delight us with their thoughts, creations, and love for games.
This week jump-started as usual with the 2 day MDA workshop, where we saw some amazing paper prototypes for games like this amazing Katamari Damacy game based on the thrill of getting bigger! It's probably not clear to the attendees (about 150 devs from all areas of the industry) but I learn more from them by helping out with their designs than they do from me. Because their prototypes show me that at the center of all games is something unique and inspring - the joy of interaction.
And while the conference has given me many occasions to smile over the years at GDC, this year really taxed my cheeks! Especially since the Journey team was nominated for 6 Choice awards and 7 GANG awards - and took home 11 total. Far more than any award, and even hugs from fans - embracing as we stood on stage accepting for Game of the Year at the Choice Awards was a highlight of my year.
On Thursday, this trend continued - hugs and congrats from people who were touched by the game... and then from people who attended the #1ReasonToBe panel and our panel at Microsoft's Women In Games awards luncheon. It was such an honor to be part of the ongoing dialog, and I thought deeply about both presentations because I wanted to do two very specific things.
First, I wanted to let people know how I got where I am today (which while not planned, but looking back was definitely no accident!). Second, I wanted to inspire GDC attendees to reach out and find more developers - people like my IGDA Scholar Mentee Brittany Oswald, who is interested in games, education and generally making the world a better place!
It has been fantastic hearing from so many of you about how these talks demystified my career and inspired yours. Please use Facebook or LinkedIn to stay in touch, so I can promote your awesome games when they come out. In the days and weeks to come I'll post here when things related to the panel (including the session video) are made publicly available.
By Friday I thought I was all hugged out - but this year's Experimental Gameplay Session was a yet another occasion to embrace and celebrate new perspectives and I think it may have worn my arms out with all that clapping! We had a fantastic session filled with amazing games, which I will also link to here as coverage emerges in the next week or so.
To the attendees: REMEMBER OUR CHALLENGE: Not everyone who makes or dreams of making games is a member of our community yet, and it's our job to change that. Please - do your part to make next year our most diverse session (and conference) yet!
Huge thanks to our fellow organizers for helping us sort through 130 submissions, and prepare everyone for the session. Giant hugs to each of our 24 presenters, for showing us how and why gameplay experimentation is so vital to our industry. It was especially heartwarming to see devs playing each other's games onstage, and to see the attendees playing games in the room after, as we prepared to say a wistful goodbye to GDC2013.
Games bring us together, show us what we are ... and inspire what we can become. Because of all of you, I woke up inspired, recharged, and am walking on air. Till I see you all again in 2014....