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Archive for March, 2007

GDC 2007 Day 5

When you mention the press, numbers don’t usually come up in the conversation. But at the session earlier this morning, that’s what the editors of Wired magazine, Game Developers Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly and the IGN Web site focused on. More specifically, the four talked scores and how they relate to their designated games.

There were some public relation folk in the room along with some developers. The editors – Chris Baker of Wired; Brandon Sheffield of GDM; Dan Hsu of EGM; and Talmadge Blevins of IGN – had a spirited give-and-take with the people they work with. They each gave their take on how they score the reviews. They defined “average” for each publication and how the school system of A-F grading influences how people think of their scores. Some like using 5s for average while the public believes a 7 is an average game.

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Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2007
Under: Gieson Cacho | 1 Comment »

GDC 2007 Nintendo Keynote

10 p.m. The line for Shigeru Miyamoto’s keynote speech curls near Fourth Street. According to the volunteers, they have most of the attendees line up around the building. The anticipation to hear Miyamoto speak is as scary as it is ridiculous. But I have to remind myself that these are the people who are now game designers and probably were inspired by his games. The creator of “Super Mario Bros.,” “The Legend of Zelda” and other Nintendo franchises is probably the rock star of rock stars when it comes to game designers.

10:04 The press is in another section of the building. The crowd is much smaller and we’re milling about the front doors. Adam Sessler of G4 just popped a piece of gum in his mouth.

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Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2007
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GDC 2007 Day 3 Wrap-up

I spent most of the afternoon on the show floor. There are two at the Moscone Center: one is in the North Hall and the other is in the West. I spent most of my time at the West and I found myself at Nintendo’s modest booth.

Let’s get one thing clear. This isn’t E3. There wasn’t much neon or half-naked booth babes hanging around. What we had was something serious, not too much hype with people mostly clothed. At the Nintendo booth, one of the demonstrators showed off “Big Brain Academy” for the NIntendo Wii.

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Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2007
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GDC 2007 PlayStation Home part 2

Along with the public and private spaces in PlayStation’s Home service, there will also be little sectors for game publishers and other companies. Players can, say, jump into a sports world and play a few minigames in this virtual world. Sony executive showed off how, in this second “Second Life,” you can bowl in an arcade or play pool at a pool table. There are also arcade cabinets that change from user to user. Later, Sony is thinking of creating downloadable pets and such.

The second big announcement is the Hall of Fame. This is Sony’s attempt at creating an Achievement/Gamer score aspect à la Microsoft Xbox Live. In a player’s Hall of Fame, one can show off trophies for completing certain tasks like slaying a dragon in “Lair,” or getting 100 friends on the Home network. In addition, players can also post replays from their best lap in “Gran Turismo HD” on monitors located around the Hall.

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Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2007
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GDC 2007 PlayStation Home annoucements

10 p.m. The press line is still small. It barely spills over the stairs. To our right, regular attendees wait in a separate general admissions line.

10:09 p.m. The line swells to a giant mob outside the Esplanade Ballroom of Moscone Center South. It is an endless stream of people and when you think the last of them have filed in, here come more of them. Most of them are men age 18 to 34 I guess. A few women are sprinkled in. It makes me wonder what the Shigeru Miyamoto line will look like.

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Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2007
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GDC 2007 Day 2 part 2

Listening to these indie developers, you get the sense that there are two worlds in the video game industry. There’s the mainstream consoles that are reminiscent of big-budget Hollywood and the alternative, small-time developers that make quirky and often innovative titles.

The best example of this sector seems to be Thatgamecompany, an indie developer that was started by students at the USC Interactive Media program. Two members of that group — Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago — showed up at a session, describing their latest project “Cloud.”

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Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2007
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GDC 2007 Day 2

Something that I overlooked yesterday were two more conferences taking place at the Moscone Center. While I was looking for the coffee near the press rooms, I discovered the Casual Games and Independent Games summit.

I snuck into a session on Downloadable Casual Games on the Console, where organizers had Chris Early, sudio manager at Microsoft Games, and John Hight of Sony Entertainment. (Officials invited Nintendo to speak but they declined.)

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Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2007
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GDC 07 Day 1

The first two days of the conference will be focused on the alternative side of industry: gaming on cell phones and serious (i.e. non-entertainment) games.

I sat in on a few of the serious-games sessions, most of which showed the diversity in the field. They were held in dimly lit halls with a sparse crowd clumped here and there. Folks had out their laptops and feverishly typed down words. Others just sat back and nodded their heads at the pronouncements.

When you’re in such a young field, a few name terms are bound to come up. The first I heard was “illuderacy” coined by Jesse Schell, a professor of entertainment technology at Carnegie Mellon University. The second new word I heard was “drama games,” which was mentioned in a session by Santiago Siri.

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Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2007
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Welcome to the Game Developers Conference

With the announced downsizing of the E3 video game conference, some event had to pick up the slack and it seems that event is the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Held in the Moscone Center, the conference is a mix of forums, classes and keynote speeches that focus on all aspects of the video game industry.

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Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2007
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