Introducing our ‘curated spaces’ for GDC 2015

13229947794_1f2c29b3d2_z[Picture of Iam8bit’s ‘You’ve Got Game Show!’ from GDC 2014 – here’s the full gallery of curated spaces from last year.]

As you folks may have spotted, there’s just a week to go ’til we hit Game Developers Conference 2015 – and there’ll likely be 25,000+ game developers converging on the Moscone Center to check out talks, Expo, and everything in between, yay!

And actually, it’s the ‘everything in between’ I wanted to talk about in this post. When the organizers looked at GDC, 3 or 4 years ago, we realized we were providing lotsa neat stuff in the conference rooms, and on the Expo Floor. But some of the larger ‘common spaces’ when walking around Moscone felt, well, a bit empty.

So we started putting a lot more seating/hangout spaces in there, plus commissioning, paying expenses and giving free space to awesome people who were curating and showing ‘interesting things’. Best of all, these spaces are viewable and interactable by any GDC pass holder, from Expo to Exhibitor to All-Access. And we do them _solely_ to make your experience a lot more fun, thought-provoking, and social.

These GDC ‘curated spaces’ are listed, day by day, on the GDC 2015 Events page, but I thought it might be useful to highlight them and add a little ‘co-director’s commentary’ – with full credit to Meggan Scavio (da true bosslady!), Sandesh Nicol & Ashley DaSilva, plus our amazing ops team – and ALL of our partners listed below – for making this all happen:

Mild Rumpus – By Wild Rumpus
Monday-Thursday, March 2nd-5th; 10am-6pm
West Hall, Street Level

Come stroll through the trees and into the welcoming heart of the Mild Rumpus woodland grotto. Amid the comfortable wildlife you’ll find respite from the hustle and bustle with a hand-picked selection of all-natural independent video games. Each day at 5pm we’ll be bringing you live talks and performances from different designers. To view the full schedule, stop by the grotto or visit www.thewildrumpus.co.uk/mildrumpus.

[The Wild Rumpus folks have switched to chillout style for onsite at GDC for the last couple of years. Love that all the games they’ve picked this year are themed around nature, the outdoors, and the ‘organic’ – and watch for a unique/cool visual look to their space, too!]


Shut Up & Sit Down: A Lovely Tabletop Lounge
Monday-Friday, March 2th-6th; 10am-6pm
West Hall, Third Level

It’s been another astonishing year for the board game industry. Come see what all the fuss is about in this curation of the best games from 2014. Peruse the gallery, play a quick game yourself or simply take a seat and enjoy the sound of your fellow humans having a great time.

[There’s more info in this blog post about the specific games from the excellent SUSD crew, making their debut at the show this year, including XCOM: The Board Game, Plaid Hat Games’ Dead of WinterFive Tribes from Days of Wonder and the bluffing game Sheriff of Nottingham, also One Night Ultimate Werewolf, the Marvel Dice Masters game and Bruno Faidutti’s Mascarade. Crazy good line-up, go check it!]

Train Jam Exhibit
Monday-Friday, March 2nd-6th; 10am-6pm
West Hall, Third Level

Train Jam is a collection of developers traveling via train to the Game Developers Conference and creating games during the 52-hour train journey from Chicago to San Francisco. Come and play [some of] the games that were created on our journey out to GDC and learn more about this annual event!

[This in the second year for the jam itself, and we covered the awesomeness of the inaugural Train Jam on Gamasutra, but didn’t display the games. This time we’ll be displaying a selection of the highlights live on site, only a couple of days after they were actually finished. Delightful.]

Videogame History Museum
Mon-Fri, March 2nd-6th; 10am-6pm (to 3pm Fri)
North Hall, Lower Lobby

To commemorate Warren Robinett’s groundbreaking Adventure on the Atari 2600 [which has a Classic Postmortem at the show], The Videogame History Museum will be building an amazing exhibit paying tribute to the history of Atari. Stop by and play Adventure on an original Atari 2600 console and see if you can find the famous “microscopic dot” to reveal one of the original “Easter Eggs” and see the message Warren hid in the game. Even if you can’t find the dot (it’s quite microscopic don’t you know) there will be a ton of other Atari history to enjoy in the exhibit!

[The Videogame History Museum, which now has a permanent home in Texas, had some insanely cool Nintendo artifacts at the show last year, and since one of the co-founders specializes in Atari collecting, this year’s line-up – which’ll also include misc. arcade games and other goodness – should be stellar.]

alt.ctrl.GDC
Wed-Fri, March 4th-6th; 10am-6pm (to 3pm Fri.)
North Hall, Career Center Floor, Booth CC2326

alt.ctrl.GDC is an exhibit by Indie Fund developer scout and Media Indie Exchange co-creator John Polson that highlights the outer fringe of exciting alternative control methods for games. Some are custom-made; some repurpose gadgets such as briefcases, telephone receivers and musical keyboards; and others combine VR helmets, MIDI devices, foot pedals, patch cables, and switches into unique forms of play. Developers will be on-hand to discuss their creations, coupled with new games for attendees to try.

[Here’s 2015’s line-up for alt.ctrl.GDC, which was one of the big showfloor hits of GDC 2014 – here’s a gallery from last year – and has been given more space as a result! Am excited for almost all of the custom setups, but check out Butt Sniffin’ Pugs, Snail Run & Ferdinand Leboite for starters!] 

iam8bit’s Wheel Of Whimsy
Mon-Fri, March 2nd-6th; 10am-6pm (to 3pm Fri)
North Hall, Lower Lobby

Test your nerd cred by playing one of four unique games at the Wheel of Whimsy by iam8bit, celebrating the creative company’s fifth year collaborating with GDC. Every hour, one lucky attendee will spin to select what video game-themed extravaganza will distract you from your important meetings – PIXLatr, Cheat Code, Videogame Bingo or Name That Chiptune. Prove your geeky prowess and proudly gloat to your industry peers.

[Beyond this description, iam8bit’s exhibit is a welcome mystery to me, but looks like it builds on 2014’s ‘You’ve Got Game Show‘ showcase but with multiple supafun games. Previous years have been just as spectacular – there was the ‘Class Of GDC’ photobooth in 2013, 2012’s ‘Super Magnetic Game-O-Matic’, and ‘Painting With Pixels’ back in 2011. Excite!]

Indie MEGABOOTH Showcase
Mon-Fri, March 2nd-6th; 10am-6pm (to 3pm Fri)
West Hall, Third Level

Check out the Indie MEGABOOTH Showcase, with a new set of 15 games for 2015. Indie MEGABOOTH is a collection of independent developers banding together to showcase the latest and greatest indie games at conventions across the world. Working with over 150 game studios, and routinely featured in industry press, our games are interesting and innovative and other buzz words as well. We have mobile, PC, console and some platforms you haven’t even heard of. How’s that for ground level access?

[Here’s the full 2015 line-up of the 15 up-and-coming games handpicked by Indie MEGABOOTH and given a free space to exhibit. Really looking forward to checking out fascinating, innovative & touching titles like No Pineapple Left Behind, Inside My Radio, & That Dragon, Cancer.]

Conclusion

In addition to all of the above and the other listed GDC 2015 events I didn’t have time to mention, there’s the Independent Games Festival Pavilion on the main Moscone South show floor (30+ IGF finalists and their creators to talk to!), and so many great games and experiences across company booths & country pavilions galore – this year’s Expo Floors are packed with goodness.

Then there’s GDC Play on the Moscone North show floor, plus other things scattered in ‘common areas’ like personalized 3D face scanning/printing from 3DPlusMe, plus the Microsoft, Intel & Ubisoft lounges, & more – explore thoroughly, lest you miss anything, and have infinite fun, wontcha?

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