It's Community & Business Manager Mariko here with a recap of my recent adventures to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco & PAX East in Boston. It was very interesting going to two such different gaming events so close together, so I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on both events with you below.
GDC - Pedicabs & Parties
It was hard not to get overwhelmed at GDC, especially since this was my first trip to the gigantic industry conference. GDC is definitely more business focused than PAX, with publishers and technology providers from all over the world converging on the Moscone Center in SF. Pretty much anyone who's anyone in video games was there: I got to shake hands with the amazing Leigh Alexander and I even spotted John and Brenda Romero out of the corner of my eye while having a meeting in the Marriott lobby.
I also got a free pedicab ride back to the convention center from an off-site publisher meeting. I know it seems silly, but being driven around in the California sun really made me feel like a million bucks. No word yet on the publisher front as we're still weighing all of our funding and distribution options, but we decided to take advantage of the access GDC (and Execution Labs) provided us to open as many doors as possible.
Sessions, as I'd been warned, were hit and miss. The best one I managed to attend was about hiring and retaining women in the games industry. Since this is something I hold very dear to my heart I knew I had to attend and it was just as inspirational as I'd hoped. Sexism isn't unique to video games, but the community in games is so close knit that we really have an opportunity to be leaders on this issue.
And of course, the highlight of any GDC were the parties. Since I had to leave early to make my PAX commitment, I only got to attend a few shindigs, but the coolest was definitely the Monday Night Mixer hosted by Sega. They even had Sonic themed bento boxes!
PAX East - Friends & Fans
PAX East, on the other hand, is a completely different beast. Created by fans, for fans, PAX is much more a celebration of all things game related, from video games to board games, to role-playing games and beyond. While War of Zodiarcs isn't quite ready to show off in a convention setting, I was actually there helping my friend Mo show off his game A.N.N.E., as I have for the past three years. However, every moment I wasn't in the booth was spent hyping our game to anyone who would listen.
It was a great occasion to reconnect with old friends, and make lots of new ones from all over the world. It was also just nice to soak up all the love and enthusiasm for games in general. Nothing is more inspiring than talking to people all day long that love games just as much as you do.
Thanks again to everyone who made my first GDC such a pleasant experience and hello again to all our new friends and fans. I can't wait to see you all at an event in the near future.