March 26th, 2009

Sitting here at Moscone North, hooked up to the only free power plug in a mile radius, I have to laugh at the number of GDC-goers I see passed out against walls, laptops still open. Sirs and madams, I could not agree more. Yes, this is exciting. Yes, it’s thought provoking. But it’s also absolutely exhausting.

Yesterday I made the mistake of trying to conference it up for fourteen hours straight. I started with a Spore talk, which teased me with a “We’ll get to that later” note on how sporn was educational, but of course never did get back to it. Next I hit up sushi buddy David Hellman’s talk, The Art of Braid. Dave and Jonathan Blow put a lot more theoretical thought into the game’s aesthetics than I’d ever imagined. Plus seeing Dave’s artistic process unfold as he hovered above background layers of watercolor mountains was really stunning.

Probably my favorite session so far — surprise surprise — was Eric Zimmerman’s annual game design challenge. This year the challenge was both sexual and autobiographical in nature, with the prompt: “My first time.” Developers Heather Kelley and Erin Robinson teamed up on a Warioware-like series of mini games themed around their awkward experiences losing their virginity. Sulka Haro, lead designer for Habbo Hotel, created a Flickr-inspired sharing site for talking about first times. And Steve Meretzky flew through a whole brainstorm of sex game ideas (including penis FPS, finally!), only to arrive at a text adventure about blossoming from a gawky teen to a slightly less gawky adult.

After that I had planned to make it through the Game Developers Choice Awards, then hit up the WIGI mixer, then hang with the people… but I ended up on my sofa watching Lost at 9:00 and going to sleep at 10:30. Do I feel like a wimp? Sure. Do I regret it. No way.

Tags: events

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