Today is the official day when GDC 2011 kicks off. Since I only purchased the Summits and Tutorial pass I could not attended the opening keynote by Satoru Iwata. I was quite interested on his view on these past 25 years since GDC was formed. The video game industry is still a fairly young industry and I am looking forward to the next 25 years.
The Expo and Career Pavilion area is huge when I first entered. The largest convention I have ever been to was AnimeNext, an anime convention in New Jersey. I was in awed at the number of people and companies here. Right when I entered was the Playstation booth. They had a non functioning NGP on display. It was really cool to see it but was a little disappointed that they did not have a functioning unit for people to try the system out. I continue to walked through the area passing Nintendo, Autodesk, Unity and others picking up free swag. The Utah booth had an EA representative there and also a cool gold EA logo T-shirt that I received. The very first booth my friend Jason and I stopped at was Riot Games. They created the popular online game League of Legends. At the booth I had a conversation with a nice lady and she gave me a T-shirt with a champion on it. Then from then I went to different booths like Playstation, Activision, Disney Interactive and Bethesda. Eventually I made my way back to the Nintendo booth as they had the Nintendo 3DS on display, however when I got there, all of the systems were taken. I continue to browse around and rested at the RIT booth.
The RIT booth was in a prime location as it was located to the right to one of the entrance of the Expo. They had various student work on display and brochures about our program at RIT. There is also a nice seating area where visitors can sit down and play some of the student work on a nice high definition display. It was around the time to pick up the GDC 2011 free T-Shirt. My friend Ben and I got their a 30 minutes ahead of time as the line for it was still really short. But within 15 minutes the line was already out the door. The T-Shirt was made of a really soft material and I was happy to receive something that was GDC related. It beat out the $25 T-shirt at the shop. With Ben, we continue back into the Career Pavilion passing the Independent Game Finalist. We made it to Microsoft where they had free water bottles and High Voltage Studio. Also in the area was the Nintendo of America booth (it was a second one) and there was a software engineer from Retro Studios there! I could not believe it. We talked to him for a few minutes but he had to rush out to his talk about Donkey Kong. Also at the booth was a main software engineer from Nintendo of Japan. We gave him our resumes even though Nintendo do not offer internships, they do look for potential candidates. They were wonderful people there giving us suggestions and hints on how we can end up at Nintendo.
For lunch I went to the Westfield mall and had a delicious Korean meal. It was really big for the price. Outside the convention center, Homefront was having a huge marketing campaign. There was a concert and free small burritos promoting the game. It was interesting walking through the marketers as not all of them were fully clothed. Back at the conference, the Playstation booth had a couple of people dressed up like the Helghast. I took some photos of them posing with other people. Later that night I attended the “Game Developers Choice Awards”. The conference hall was pack. There were so many people there that I had trouble finding a seat. It first started off with the best of the Independent Games within various categories. Amnesia and Minecraft both did really well. This was also a great opportunity for me to see other nominees as I did not have time to check them out online. There were some really cool ones that I was excited to try out at the IGF booth like Bastion and Nidhogg.
After the Independent Games Festival the Game Developers Choice awards began. It was surprising to see a beta game like Minecraft was nominated and won the best downloadable game. Even some inde games can make it into the top league. Mega64 also made some awesome appearance. They even made a video just for GDC. They help introduce the Pioneer Award to Yu Suzuki who help make the Shenmue by showing the “true” ending of that game. Peter Molyneux was giving the Lifetime Achievement award for all the things he has contributed to the game industry. He also acknowledge his attitudes towards his game but was happy to be giving this awards. Then finally they announced the game of the year.
Once the ceremonies were over, I found my other friends, Erin and Gael, and we went to icebees frozen yogurt desert place. I got a variety of yougurt and topped it with chocolate syrup, oreo crumbs and marshmallow. It was sooo delicious. After that wonderful dessert, Erin, Gael and I went back the hotel. There I looked at all the swag that I got and began organizing my stuff. I also put my notes together and then went to bed. 2 more of GDC and networking to accomplish! : )