Week 686

What’s this? I’m blogging about my work on a weekly basis – a simple way to track and archive whatever it is I spend my time on.

Last week I was in San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference. On Monday and Tuesday I attended the Independent Games Summit and from Wednesday to Friday I cherrypicked various other talks.

On Monday I went to a screening of Indie Game: The Movie. It’s a pretty powerful documentary. Rather ‘Hollywood’ in the sense that at two thirds, the main characters are at an emotional low, and in the end (most of) their problems are resolved. It was intriguing to see it with a crowd of developers, who clearly identified with the game makers highlighted in the film, and felt it was at least somewhat about them, too – a lot of tears were shed in that room. I wonder how a more general audience will respond.

On Tuesday I had a chai latte with Faruk Ateş, a friend who’s moved to San Francisco for the exciting world of web start-ups.

On Wednesday I attended the Independent Games Festival awards show, where neither of the two Dutch nominees (Vlambeer and Game Oven) won an award.

I didn’t go to many parties, in an attempt to preserve my health, and I betrayed my journalistic principles only once, drinking two free White Russians at a Chillingo party. So I promise I won’t write about Chillingo for at least the next year.

During the week, I followed Two Tribes around, to developer dinners, press meetings and more. It was highly educational to see some of the dynamics of a developer conference up-close. (I work with Two Tribes on their next game, so if I write about these activities, I will clearly present myself as being aligned with this company.)

I did some interesting interviews with Andy Schatz of Monaco, Jenova Chen of Journey and David Helgason, the CEO of Unity, among others.

I wrote a column about Phil Fish, his game Fez, Indie Game: The Movie and the GDC, and the idea that indie developers give games a human face. This column was published on Friday in nrc.next.

On Saturday, together with some Dutch game developers, I cycled over the Golden Gate Bridge, to Sausalito, Old Mill Park and Tiburon, and went back to San Francisco by ferry. Then we made up for burned calories by having dinner at Johnny Rockets.

As I write this, diving through the date line between Sunday and Monday somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean in a KLM plane called Amy Johnson, I am hopeful that jetlag effects are indeed minimized by fasting for 16 hours before a flight. I’ll let you know next week whether the experiment pays off.