An Introvert’s Guide to Surviving GDC

Yet again, that enormous annual conference for all the game developers in the galaxy is soon upon us. You know the one. I will, of course, be there, volunteering and also demoing Dominique Pamplemousse.

Anyway, here’s a thing I’ve noticed in the several years I’ve been a GDC attendee. When it comes to what a lot of people on the internet think of as the best parts of GDC — namely, ZOMG NETWORKING! and PARTIES! — I often feel at odds. I’m an introvert, which means that while I don’t necessarily hate being outgoing and sociable per se,1 I generally find most kinds of social activities to be draining, to the point of needing to rest and recover afterwards. Apparently, I’m not alone. So, here’s my list of ways in which I, personally, try to get the most out of GDC. Your own mileage, as they say, may vary. But if you’re the kind of person whose reaction to spending a week in close proximity to tens of thousands of people is more “eep!” than “yay!” then maybe some of these tips will help.

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Why “if you don’t like it, make your own” is not a valid argument

Today, in response to critical outcry on a certain disgusting videogame trailer making rounds on the internet (relevant links here and here), Tycho of Penny Arcade fame responded saying that rather than complaining about it, people should instead be making their own art. As a creator of my own art for the last decade or so, this particular silencing tactic — because let’s face it, “silencing tactic” is exactly what it is — angers me on a very personal level, if only because I once bought into it completely.

Don’t get me wrong. I love creating my own art. It’s an activity out of which I get more joy than almost anything else. I love encouraging people to create their own art too, because the art I enjoy most is the kind that’s personal and intimate. I haven’t even so much as touched a big-budget videogame in quite some time, simply because none of them interest me very much, these days. The book Tycho linked to in his post, Anna Anthropy’s Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, is absolutely fantastic and empowering and I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone reading this. And yet… that’s not all there is to the story.

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Some notes on “The Play”

First off, I’ve released a new game! It’s called “The Play”, and it’s a text-based interactive story about a theatre director trying to make sure a dress rehearsal doesn’t go horribly wrong. Except, well, there’s a bit more to it than that. Anyway, go play it if you haven’t already. It’s not very long to get through, and it even plays well with mobile devices!

I also entered this game into the seventeenth annual Interactive Fiction Competition and it managed to win third place! Not bad for a first entry, or so I’m told. Squee!

Anyway, below the jump are some of my assorted spoileriffic thoughts on the game. Hello, sweetie!

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Old Stuff

Some stuff I made when I was a tiny baby game designer.

Life Flashes By
Download for Mac
Download for Windows

The Little Girl Nobody Liked
Play online

BLEARGH: A Holiday Greeting
Play online

Des Rêves Élastiques Avec Mille Insectes Nommés Georges
Download for Windows

Pigeons in the Park
Download for Windows

Chivalry is Not Dead
Download for Windows

When We Were Kids
Play online

Facetious Nonsense
Play online

The Game That Takes Place on a Cruise Ship
Download for Windows

The Interview
SLUDGE source code

Cubert Badbone, P.I.
Download for Windows