We sent an Evil Emissary to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, and it was a thrilling time. We showed the game to a number of Conference Associates (the splendid minions that help the conference run for the attendees), attended many useful talks, and said hello to some of our Massachusetts cohort at the Made in Mass party. It was all rather splendid.
GDC is a special event, in that it’s a developer-facing gathering, rather than a fan-facing one. This also makes it incredibly expensive to attend, but one of our ranks took on a volunteering slot with the Conference Associates program for the second year running, which meant an all access pass to the show in exchange for a lot of working hours.
Luckily, there are off hours too. So while we couldn’t manage a booth, we had some time to share Susurrus with fellow attendees and developers, folks we chatted up at parties, and so on.
It was fantastic to watch a very narratively-driven game, Night in the Woods, take not only the Excellence in Narrative IGF award, but the Seumus McNally Grand Prize as well. More and more, people are looking for great stories in their video game experiences, and in many ways, the indie world is leading the charge in the growing-up of the industry.
In other ways, growing up – in the sense of leaving “childish things” behind – is nowhere in sight. The spirit of play and exploration was alive and well throughout the conference. While many of the talks were focused on Serious Industry Business(tm), the feel of the interactive experiences like the Indie Megabooth, Day of the Devs, and Mild Rumpus reminded us why we do this. There’s nothing quite like the smiles, laughter, and wonder of people discovering through play.