Allow me to explain the meaning of irony.
Irony is when you deliberately DON’T drink alchohol on a Thursday night, because you have gotten silly drunk every night of the week thus far and want to give your liver a break. Then, upon returning to your hotel room, you can’t sleep because the traffic outside your window is too darn loud and you are not drunk enough to ignore it.
Hence, why I spent Thursday night without sleeping a wink.
So it was a tired and fuzzy-headed Dave who left his hotel on Friday morning. Sande Chen was holding a panel discussion at 9am, and I wasn’t going to miss it. Tiredness made me miss Miyamoto, but I sure as hell couldn’t miss Sande Chen. Sande’s a friend, plus she knows where I live and can kick really hard.
I grab a cup of coffee, drink it, then grab another and head into the room.
Sande with her panel
The panel session was called “Pirates of the Caribbean: Writing across game platforms.”, and the panel itself was quite interesting. It dealt with the topic of extending an established world like “Pirates of the Carribean” to different platforms of media (i.e., games, books, etc) and keeping it consistent. One of the panelists talked about how he is usually called in to write a “bible” of a universe, starting with the films and expanding upon it. The Bible is then used by anyone who creates media within that universe, and has to remain consistent.
Sande leads her panel
Another interesting topic was WHY the owner of an IP wants the universe to remain consistent, when so much as 10-15 years ago the philosophy was “milk the cash cow until it dries.” Nowadays, folks want to nurture an IP so it will continue to make money for years to come. If franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek have taught us anything, it is certainly possible.
After the panel, I excuse myself to head back to the hotel and finish up packing so I can check out. The lack of sleep was beginning to catch up with me, and I hadn’t done alot of sleeping during the week to begin with, so I knew it was going to be a looong day.
Anyway, one check-out later, I venture forth to the North Hall to wander around the expo some more. I met up with the Ossian Studios team, a husband and wife duo who make Neverwinter Mods, and were nominated for a “Best Mod” Choice Award (and, like me, did not win!). I chatted with them for a bit, and played around a while with their mod. I entered a broken boat and encountered a vampire in a coffin, who asked me to do something, and I did it, but apparently I did something to piss him off because he then attacked me. Last time I trust a vampire.
I wonder around a bit more and encounter Deirda Kiai, a writer for Adventuregamers.com, an adventure game e-zine that I read quite frequently. We chat for a good long while about the state of adventure games and she tells me about her experiences interning at Telltale Games. It sounded like she actually had some decent amount of responsibility while working there. When I was a college intern, my responsibilities were usually akin to “make coffee” and “take out the trash”.
Eventually, it was time to go to Ernest Adams speech about writing in games. In all honesty, I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know, but he is a very funny speaker and I did enjoy going. Creating a game without actual gameplay was a part of his spiel. One key line from his speech was something akin to: “I enjoyed Farcry. I loved the environment. The trees were lovely, the beach was beautiful, there was even fish in the water! For the first time I could explore a desert island without fear of sunburn or bugbites. BUT… I couldn’t take two steps without some asshole trying to shoot me! How could I enjoy myself?”
After that, I went to an AI dinner with Sande and Ed:
I was so tired by this point I could barely keep my eyes open. I did my best to follow the conversations around me, and did a fairly good impression of a man who is awake and alert until 7:30, when it was time for me to leave. I politely excused myself (”I’m about to die. Good night, everyone.”) , went back to my hotel, got my bags, and took a cab to the airport. I slept the whole way home.
All in all, it was an incredible experience. I do admit, there are many moments when I am plagued with self-doubt that this whole “game thing” was the right direction to move my life, but events like this make it love it all over again.
Thank you, to everyone, for making this week so exciting and memorable. Until next year!