Friday, March 9, 2012

GDC 2012 on $75 a Day

If, like me, you've been forced by harsh economic realities and/or your own cerebral inadequacies to get the cheap pass (aka the Expo Pass) to the Game Developer's Conference, you may become depressed.  When you enter the conference, you'll notice the large charts of the sessions you aren't allowed to attend.
"Wow, I could learn so much if only I was allowed in!"
You'll watch all the (richer/smarter) attendees walking off into the restricted session and you will be overwhelmed by despair.

"I am overwhelmed!  With despair!"
But, do not despair!  There are tons of things you can do at the conference.  Here's a sample.
First, check out the GDC Play sessions.  At GDC Play you can...
Oh, is that closed already?
Er, never mind.  You can look at the art on the conference center walls.

I think it's some kind of primitive Tetris.
And you're near the bathroom.  That's worth a trip.
As much as I appreciate you putting a changing station in the men's room, you're still showing a woman doing the changing!
Then you hit the show floor.  Since that's the only thing you are allowed to do for three days, it might get a little boring.  The highlight is the Independent Games Festival.
If you like your games depressing or confusing, this is your bag.
Once you've done that, you need to make your own fun.  See, all the other booths are slight variations on the same monetization scheme or advertising middleware.  My suggestion is to run around to the country booths (sponsored by countries desperately trying to get game company investment) and make fun of them.  In alphabetical order.
"Come to think of it, I could use some Chile.  I missed breakfast."

"China has a west coast?  Where the heck is that?"

"Only Germany could make their entertainment outreach logo look like the symbol of an oppressive dictatorship."

"I'd make fun of you, Georgia but it's wrong to make fun of countries that still don't have public education or clean water."

"Fix Korea?  The we helped break it!"

"So, if Nova means 'new,' where's Old Scotia?"
Then go make fun of the stupid companies.
"HA!  Your company made tree graphics for TEN YEARS!  You may be rich, but you're also BORING!"
I don't have a joke here because this product really is incredibly stupid.
After that gets old, you should take a break for lunch.  Get out of the convention center and ride a bus to a restaurant.
Yes, this is what a bus stop looks like in San Francisco.  It's a pole.
Technically, anyone who attends GDC on an Expo Pass is allowed to sit here; the disabled and elderly pity you that much.
Now go back to get the leftover freebies.  All the vendors throw it at you as you pass, because they don't want to lug it home.

This is a good time to stock up on pens.
Seriously, that's a fuckload of pens.
They're also getting rid of candy.  You can get really fat at GDC.
The same is true of employers at the job fair.  By the end of the conference, if companies don't have all jobs filled, they have to hire anyone walking by.
"HA!  Suckers!  Now you have to work at Blizzard!"
 Finally, you should visit the IGDA booth and contribute to the giant Katamari sculpture.
The prevalence of business cards should show you how desperate people are to get attention.
Or just sit on the stairs because, after three days of this, your feet and back ache like you can't imagine.
I don't know why, but it's terrifically popular to sit here.
Inevitably, you'll run into someone you know and talk about how life is going.  He or she will tell you how their career has flourished, and you'll have to admit that you've been reduced to purchasing the Expo Pass to GDC.  Your happy glow will fade and you will trudge home to reminisce about your glory days in the game industry when you weren't a loser.
But that is another story...

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