Bosslady Blog: GDC25's Anniversary Highlights, Attendee Gifts, Expansion

[In her Bosslady Blog update, Game Developers Conference event director Meggan Scavio reveals a partnership with I Am 8-Bit for conference attendee posters and 'Paint By Pixels', an expansion into Moscone West, and other major highlights of the February 28th-March 4th show in San Francisco.]

Hopefully by now you realize what a milestone year it is for Game Developers Conference. This will be the 25th time that GDC -- or rather, an iteration of GDC -- has occured.

Notice that I didn't say 25th year or anniversary? The launch of our show was in 1988, and two events were held that year. The first took place in the living room of our founder, Chris Crawford, near San Jose, CA, and was called the Computer Game Developers Conference. It was such a hit that a second event was scheduled later that year in a proper convention center.

There are a number of ways in which we're celebrating GDC 25:

- First and foremost, we're bringing back GDC founder and Balance Of Power designer Chris Crawford to present a special anniversary lecture titled 'In Days of Yore'. Chris is a famously energetic speaker, as you can see by the infamous finale of his 1992 'dragon' speech at CGDC. I suggest doing what you can to see this talk.

- Of course, we wanted to give conference attendees a special gift for our 25th edition. We were contacted by someone who wanted to create commemorative GDC plates (I'm not making this up!), but we went with a special two-part gift we're revealing for the first time here. We're partnering with the fine folks at I Am 8-Bit and each GDC 2011 conference attendee will get a random selection of two posters - out of a complete set of four - that creatively reflect the last 25+ years of game development.

Another project that I Am 8-Bit has created for us is Paint by Pixels. At registration, conference attendees will be given one 'pixel', and they can participate by attaching it to an initially blank canvas, to construct a 20-by-8-foot pixel portrait by designer Jude Buffum.. Make sure to make your own contribution to the 5,760 pixels needed to complete the image!

- The Classic Game Postmortem series was also borne out of a GDC 25 brainstorm. Putting this lecture series together might have been one of the most fun things I've done for GDC yet. Every person I asked was so excited to participate and revisit their early, sometimes defining titles, from Pac-Man through DOOM to Populous and beyond.

It will be interesting to see what inspiration is drawn from hearing how the classics were created. If all goes well, we may make this a regular series. And don't worry if you can't get into any of those lectures this year or don't have time, we'll be recording all of the Classic Postmortem sessions for free GDC Vault viewing after the show.

- We talked a lot about who the keynote would be this year. First off, I personally love the idea of only one main keynote at GDC. Since we don't program against it, attendees have no choice in content during that hour. If you are not interested in seeing the keynote, there is nothing else for you to do. Each major keynote is the equivalent of about 20 sessions we don't program. That's a lot of content to lose for a single lecture that not everyone wants to attend.

What this also means is that we need to get our choice right. With this being GDC 25, we wanted our keynote to reflect that long history. When considering game companies who have been successful for 25 years and counting, how do you not think of Nintendo? That's why we're delighted to welcome the company's CEO Satoru Iwata this year.

- There's one last item that is new this year -- but not necessarily because of our milestone. 2011 marks the first year that GDC truly takes over all 3 buildings of the Moscone Center - North, South, and West. Last year was a little rough at times, spacewise, since some sessions had definite capacity issues.

We wanted to do what we could to avoid that, and our only option this year was to expand even further. There aren't more sessions, but there are bigger rooms and thousands of more seats. We're not claiming that you will never, ever be at a loss for a seat -- we're not miracle workers -- but we've tried our very best.

So, wear comfortable shoes, plan your schedule carefully, check out our lecture recommendations for the media if you'd like, bring your business cards, and prepare yourself for a week of learning, networking, inspiration and total awesomeness. See you there!

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