Written By Garth Herbert

GDC First -Timer’s Retrospective

Before Game Developer’s Conference

First, I must say that I was extremely excited to attend this year’s Game Developer’s Conference, but I didn’t really know what to expect.  I’ve been to gaming conferences before as a volunteer, but never for business.  My role at GDC this year was to shadow my manager, the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, as she was networking and making her rounds at various business meetings.  In anticipation of the event, part of me feared I would be asked numerous questions that I wouldn’t be able to answer.  So as not to be caught off guard, I did quite a bit of research to prepare for the conference.  Would doing my homework pay off?  Is there such a thing as too much research?


I was also unsure of how formal the whole affair would be.  Would it be impolite to keep things light?  Will it be all business, nothing casual?  Would wearing a suit and tie be the safest choice?  Would the parties be different from the ones I was used to?  All of these questions definitely didn’t help alleviate my stress, but nonetheless, I was definitely looking forward to participating in my first GDC!


After Game Developers Conference

Well, it’s official…  My first GDC was a resounding success!  Overall, it completely surpassed my expectations.  I was privileged to sit in on some meetings with companies that have created some of my favorite games.  I attended various parties and mixers where I was able to ask for advice from industry professionals with several decades of experience.  I played some fascinating games and then spoke with the very interesting people that created them.  It was an adventure I will not soon forget.


This wasn’t surprising; however, there were some parts of the conference that were unexpected.  Most importantly, the personal research I did on the various companies ended up helping me more than I ever thought it could.  As the conference progressed, I felt prepared and confident.  I never felt lost when industry veterans would bring up company-specific information or uncommon game development lingo.  It was definitely worth the time and effort to do my homework!  


Additionally (and I guess part of me knew this was going to be the case), the people at the conference were fairly relaxed.  The meetings that I attended felt very professional, but at the same time, everyone was very laid back.  The fact that all of these meetings took place in the hotels around the conference center was also surprising.  I almost felt like everything that took place in the lobbies of the hotels was a separate conference in itself.


On the subject of parties, they were mostly on par with my expectations.  There were plenty of free drinks to go around, and an endless amount of interesting people to share them with.  On the other hand, I was blindsided by the extremely long lines to get into some of these events.  It made sense, considering the large number of people who come to GDC.  But even still, I was a little bummed.  There were several parties I didn’t end up attending due to the long lines.  I guess I was hoping the parties would be slightly more exclusive.


GDC was an amazing experience.  I strongly encourage anyone who has the time and means to go, especially if you intend on entering the games industry.

About Me: My name is Garth Herbert. I’m a senior at Miami University.  I’m double majoring in Media & Culture (film production) and Interactive Media Studies.  This semester, I’m interning at the mobile gaming company, Hitcents, through the Interactive Media Studies San Francisco Digital Innovation Program.

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