A recent drawing for Friday afternoon.
Not a lot of stuff posted online this week – me being in San Francisco all week at the Game Developers Conference meant that Alex and I weren’t able to record an Ink Panthers podcast, and there was no TCJ Talkies this past Wednesday. I have next week’s chat with Renee French all recorded and awaiting editing, though. It was a really good one, if I do say so myself. Look for it next Wednesday.
GDC was a pretty amazing experience. As I mentioned last week, I feel really lucky to have a day-job that sends me to interesting things like this. I really do love thinking and talking about games.
A couple GDC takeaways:
- Indie Game: The Movie is something you really want to make an effort to try and see. I had no idea what it was going to be about when I went to the screening, but it turns out to be an extremely engaging and emotionally affecting story. Like The King of Kong, the story ends up being way more dramatic and intense than you initially expect. Also, Indie Comics people will see so much of themselves in the Indie Game Designers.
- Except of course that it seems like Indie Games people probably have a much larger and more rabid potential fan-base than comics people. I think even mainstream comics are sharing their audience with the video games set. I mean, what is a show like New York Comic Con anyway, if not a place where fans can immerse themselves in movies, costumes, video games and nerd culture, with the odd comic-book here and there. (I italicized the word “potential”, because I have no doubt that just because the audience is larger, it’s probably no easier for a game designer to make a hit game than it is a cartoonist to write a popular book).
- The digital revolution seems like it’s been nothing but good for Indie Games makers. Now game designers can go straight to consumers, completely skipping the part where they have to worry about getting their boxed game up on a shelf at Wal-Mart.
- I went to a panel about Funding Your Indie Game. Thousands of people showed up, and it looked like only one of them was interested in getting their game packaged in a box and sold on retail shelves. Everyone else seemed to want to go straight-to-consumer.
- Unscientifically Backed-up Observation: the Games Industry seems like a Boy’s Club, worse than comics. I saw plenty of women in attendance, and went to some talks given by ladies, but they were more about children’s games, or learning games, or the speaker had a background as a producer/project manager. I didn’t come across many high-profile women game designers or lead artists or creatives.
- Except one quite nice talk about Making Games For Your Teenage Daughter, where the game designer co-presented with his actual teenage daughter, and showed how she was becoming more and more involved in his development process. Maybe it’s one of those things where in ten years from now, there’ll be way more women designing games just as a given, like what has happened with Alternative Comics.
- In fact, maybe like what’s happened in comics, future generations of female game designers may start making work that’s fresher and more interesting, partially because they aren’t coming at things from the same shared video-games-of-the-80′s background and sensibility that all the men are.
- Again, I have to stress, I’m basing these judgments of the games industry on almost nothing. I really don’t know that much about it, and the stuff I’m the most familiar with is the learning/serious games space, which seems to have a different gender breakdown than the “AAA” commercial games nook.
- Weird thing: I love talking about games, and I love listening to people deliver interesting lectures about making games, but I don’t actually play any video games myself, apart from apps on my iPhone.
- Upon reflection, that’s not such a bad thing I decided. I prefer playing offline games. “Get Together Games” if you will. Like, Settlers of Catan, Heroclix, and Magic: The Gathering. So, perhaps I just prefer the social element.
- There was an earthquake in San Francisco that woke me up at 5:30AM on the first day of the conference. Counting the one that happened on the East Coast a few months back, that makes it two quakes that I’ve survived in the same year.
- There was way more, but I am totally wrecked today, so can’t think of any others. I took the red-eye back last night, so am on about 3-4 hours of fitful sitting-on-a-plane sleep.