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GDC 2012 brings back popular Classic Game Postmortem series

classicgames1.jpgThe Game Developers Conference will continue its examination of the industry's most influential landmark titles as the Classic Game Postmortem series returns to the show's Main Conference for a second consecutive year.

After its acclaimed debut as part of GDC's twenty-fifth anniversary celebration last year, the series returns to GDC 2012 with postmortems of the original editions of seminal games such as Alone in the Dark with designer Frederick Raynal, Fallout with producer, lead programmer and designer Tim Cain, Gauntlet with creator Ed Logg and Harvest Moon with producer and co-designer Yasuhiro Wada.

As part of GDC 2012, these talks will take place March 5 through March 9 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. The following are the notable Classic Game Postmortem talks to be featured at the upcoming show:

- Infogrames' atmospheric 1992 action-adventure title Alone in the Dark is widely considered the forefather of the survival horror genre, establishing conventions like claustrophobic areas, stories revealed through expository items, and giving players limited ammunition to deal with hordes of monsters.

Its cinematic presentation and fixed third-person camera angles went on to influence many non-survival horror releases, too. Alone in the Dark's designer Frederick Raynal will share how he and his team crafted the seminal game and helped spawn a genre that still scares millions today.

- The Fallout series has changed development or publishing hands a number of times (most recently to Bethesda Softworks), switched perspectives, and jumped from turn-based to real-time gameplay, but the series' survival and consistently high quality games are a testament to the strengths of the original.

Interplay Entertainment's first Fallout in 1997 offered players a post-apocalyptic open world filled with distinctive characters, moral dilemmas, and quests that could be solved in multiple, oftentimes-unconventional ways. Tim Cain, producer, lead programmer, and one of the primary designers for the beloved game who is now at work at Obsidian on the new South Park RPG, will deliver a talk on how he helped create a franchise that set a new standard for open-world RPGs and still resonates with players.

- Atari's 1985 title Gauntlet was the first video game to bring the now-pervasive multiplayer feature of class-based heroes to arcades and later to consoles. The game also was one of the pioneers of the co-op dungeon crawling/looting game.

Ed Logg, designer of Gauntlet who was also responsible for helping to design ground-breaking games including Super Breakout, Asteroids, Centipede, and Millipede, will share his thoughts on creating the game that popularized the phrase "Wizard needs food badly" and paved the way for class-dependent experiences like World of Warcraft, Phantasy Star Online, and others.

- Finally, the Harvest Moon series made waves for portraying peaceful rural life in a video game world, and has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide in the last 15 years. Yasuhiro Wada will discuss the original 1996 Super Nintendo title Harvest Moon, a game he not only produced, but also helped design and direct, and will touch on the ideas that gave birth to the series, and the many successes and failures that can occur in developing and producing a video game franchise. In a talk simultaneously translated from Japanese, he will also offer insight into the business aspects behind the series' growth.

"The classic postmortems were first conceived as a special way to help celebrate the twenty-fifth edition of GDC last year, but after seeing its overwhelming success and due to popular demand, we decided to make it a permanent fixture at the conference, considering how many important and influential games we have yet to explore," said Meggan Scavio, GDC general manager.

"From the definitive survival horror and RPG experiences to the original farm simulation game to an arcade legend that ate quarters from every GDC attendee, we are confident that there will be a variety of fascinating lessons to be learned for everyone who comes to these sessions."

For more information about GDC 2012, please visit the event's official website.