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There in Spirit – GDX – Part 2

April 19, 2008

GDX this year was a lot of fun. Got to hear a lot of stories from the game industry, met some cool people, and played a shit-ton of Carcassonne. The first night I managed to win with a score of, like, 130 something. Kind of insane.

The road trip up to Atlanta was easily the greatest road trip of my life. We just blasted Nine Inch Nails and – you guessed it – Jethro Tull and acted retarded the whole way up. The eight-lane highway was probably one of the most frightening moments of my life, though, especially when we thought we got back ONTO it by accident. Atlanta is crazy.

Opening remarks were very good and well thought out… suspiciously well thought out. I was under the impression that the speakers were not informed of the topic, but Eric Zimmerman seemed to be surprisingly on top of everything. Like he had it scripted beforehand. I thought Costikyan made some excellent points during the opening remarks, some of which led directly into his even more excellent presentation the next day. Also went to the roundtable with Brenda Brathwaite and Linda Currie, which was on the pitfalls of the gaming industry (i.e. story-time).

After the first roundtable we all decided we were hungry so we high-tailed it to Hooters. Hooters, of course, was awesome since they had Sam Adams on tap. That’s always a privilege worth abusing.

The next day, woke up, went to what we HOPED would be breakfast but the food line was closed so we went to Starbucks instead. Skipped Eric Zimmerman’s keynote since it sounded too much like what he talked about the day before, and instead played more Carcassonne in the cafeteria. The game lasted the keynote, and then it was off to presentations. Linda Currie’s presentation on agile was first. It was very well developed and definitely helped answer some questions I had about the process. That was followed by Chris Crawford’s, which would have been a good speech had all his complaints about games not been fixed years ago by Indigo Prophecy, i.e. real decision-making and non-violent solutions to situations. Costikyan’s speech on indie developers was excellent, but he failed to bring up Steamworks, although he did mention similar digital distribution networks. Brenda’s speech was, as usual, the best, but I guess the other speaker’s know it’s hard to compete. “100 questions, 97 answers on 300 slides in 56 minutes” was the title I think, although I’m guessing there were only around 280-something slides. But whatever, the speech was hilarious, and she not only managed to pull it off in the time allotted, but she also mentioned Stalin’s Stash in a positive context, which made me cheer in the middle of her presentation. Twas awesome.

Entelechy was a bit of a disappointment as SpideRIP did not win best board game, nor did any other’s from Brenda’s “Game Design Criticism and Analysis” class. The only mention we got was how difficult it was to transport Bedlam. So I need to go get SpideRIP back from wherever it is. Better track that down.

As for the trip home, we found the Dunkin Donuts in Macon. That’s all that needs to be said.

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