Memories from my first Game Developers Conference | Kaser Focus

2024 marks the first year when I — someone who has been in the games industry off-and-on for about ten years — attended the Game Developers Conference. I’ve heard the stories and seen the pictures, and now it was finally time to go for myself. I lost five pounds from the walking alone, ate the most garlicky noodles on this green Earth and finally met a lot of people in person whom I’ve known as names on a computer for years. In short, it was amazing! The part for which no one really prepared me for, though, was how passionate everyone was about the business.

And it wasn’t simply a case of being passionate about the finer aspects of game design. There was also an undercurrent (and, during the awards, a very vocal overcurrent) of interest in games as representation or drivers of social change. I managed to briefly speak with the developers of Venba, the winner of the Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game about their game’s success and indie games’ opportunities: “I think games are unique in the sense that you only need a computer to make a game. Unlike music or movies which are much more gatekept, it’s possible for the next big indie game to come from very limited resources. So I think indie devs will always be healthy, even if the environment they’re in is not health.”

Another highlight for me was the breadth of games industry experience on display. The variety of people whose hands I got to shake was dizzying, from high-level executives to developers (and their stories from the trenches) to fellow members of the press I’ve long admired. That’s not to say there weren’t parts I found a bit baffling: The layout of the entire complex was boggling, and not just in the sense of size. On the expo floor, I kept wandering into certain booths with no conception of what they were showing.

In personal news, Princess Peach and her dramatic costume changes kept me company on the trip back from GDC. Now it’s time to tackle the other two big games that came out while I was gone: Rise of the Ronin and Dragon’s Dogma 2. I may be able to surface for air sometime around … oh, I don’t know, maybe when Tales of Kenzera: Zau comes out next month? I’ll try to make some time for Open Roads, but we’ll see how much that is given the one-two-three punch that March 22 served us.

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What to play this week (and last week)

What’s new:

  • Dragon’s Dogma 2
  • Rise of the Ronin
  • Princess Peach: Showtime!
  • Alone in the Dark
  • MLB The Show 24
  • South Park: Snow Day!
  • Open Roads
  • Pepper Grinder
  • Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles
  • Millennia
  • Outpost: Infinity Siege

New on subscription services:

  • Lightyear Frontier (Xbox Game Pass)
  • The Quarry (Xbox Game Pass)
  • Evil West (Xbox Game Pass)
  • Terra Invicta (Xbox Game Pass)
  • Diablo IV (Xbox Game Pass)
  • Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 – Turbocharged (Xbox Game Pass)
  • NBA 2K24 Kobe Bryant Edition (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Marvel’s Midnight Suns (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Resident Evil 3 (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • LEGO DC Supervillains (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Mystic Pillars: Remastered (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Blood Bowl 3 (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Super Neptunia RPG (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot for PS5 (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Jak and Daxter The Lost Frontier (PlayStation Plus Premium)
  • Cool Boarders (PlayStation Plus Premium)
  • Gods Eater Burst (PlayStation Plus Premium)
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy (PlayStation Plus Premium)
  • JoJos Bizarre Adventure AllStar Battle R (PlayStation Plus Premium)
  • Palia (GeForce Now)
  • Tchia (GeForce Now)
  • F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (Nintendo Switch Online)

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