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GDC 2013: A Worrisome, Hopeful Contradiction

By Nathan Grayson on April 3rd, 2013.

RPS’s own wayward ronin word master Cara Ellison, during a post-convention victory dinner, put it best: “GDC is where we first hear about all the stuff everyone will be talking about next year.” Maybe it’s a trend-setter, or maybe it’s just a megaphone for gentle tickles of trends that are already in motion, but the point remains: GDC tends to be pretty indicative of where we’re at. People often view E3 in that light, but the fact is, it’s a dinosaur wreathed in fireworks, frilly undergarments, and little else. E3 is a projection. GDC has evolved into its opposite: introspection. We look inward, and then we discuss. And this year – thanks to things like the renewed prominence of PC gaming, a focus on indies, and the #1ReasonToBe talk – I came away quite optimistic. That warm feeling does not, however, come without some rather glaring caveats. Same-y looking “next-gen” games. The IGDA’s insulting use of scantily clad dancers. A worrisome gulf between triple-A and indie. For each positive, there was an ugly negative.

This year’s GDC in one word? Contradiction.

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