March 31, 2009

Broadcast Failure

Last Friday, I walked into the Moscone Center at four o'clock to catch my final lecture of GDC. Seeing me, one of the volunteers remarked to his buddy: "this show is over and people are still coming in." For a second, I felt like correcting him, and letting him know that in fact the conference had another hour left. Then I thought that would sound like a dog begging for scraps, whimpering that it's not technically over while there's something left on the table.

Actually, GDC isn't very much like being a dog who got to feast for a week. The end of GDC is more like the last day of school. Classes are dismissed and for the most part you won't see all your peers until after the break. In this case, however, the break lasts for 51 weeks, and nobody is all that thrilled about school ending. You hardly see anyone smashing windows and yelling that "GDC's out forever."

So it's not at all like that. Given the long break, it's more like a school reunion, at least for a couple of people for whom GDC is really just a convenient and rare pretext to get together with good friends who live all over the world. The only thing is that the demographics of a Game Developers Conference do not correspond to those of a high school but more accurately a high school computer lab. Coincidentally, right across the street from the Moscone Center there was a football convention and one day their bathrooms were out of order so some jock wandered in and met a GDC attendee by the same toilet and they were confused about who's the boss now and whose head gets flushed.

Actually, the end of GDC is more like -- fuck it: it's like a game industry conference that ended, which can be an unhappy thing after so easily becoming acclimated to that state of existence. I got so used to it, in fact, and so tired and busy, that my regular writing habits basically lapsed and I didn't end up writing as much about the conference as I hoped. The subject is extremely likely to come up again once I have the time to mentally process it, but right now I'm only looking forward to sleeping, for the first time in ten days, for more than six hours and not on an airplane.

When I wake up tomorrow, I will have begun another year of complete isolation from the game industry. Here's to normalcy. Or whatever.


Alex Denham said...

Hi Duncan, I've just finished reading through your entire archive of posts and just wanted to say - truly inspiring.

You have an insight into video games (and 'literature' in general) that is unrivalled by any blog or commentator that I have read to date (and I read a few).

Keep up the good work, enjoy your break and keep doing what you're doing. All the best.

Duncan said...

That's extremely kind of you. Thanks for reading.