For GDC's 30th, game industry notables reflect on 30 years of making games

Lori Cole, Tim Schafer, Chris Crawford, Palmer Luckey, Chelsea Howe and more game industry luminaries will reflect on 30 years of making games during a special Flash Backward session at GDC 2016!

The game industry is gathering itself for GDC 2016 later this month, and today show organizers would like to quickly give you the rundown on a very special event that's taking place at the conference this year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Game Developers Conference.

"Flash Backward: 30 Years of Making Games" is a very special event where game industry luminaries will gather to look back on the last three decades of game development. The series of five-minute microtalks kicks off with GDC's founder, Chris Crawford, speaking about the state of the industry when GDC was born (in 1988!) and progresses through to present day.

The idea is to offer attendees a look back at significant trends through the eyes of the people who helped shape them, from the age of adventure games through to the heyday of MMORPGs, the rise of smartphones and tablets and the advent of virtual reality.

Here's a few of the experts from around the game industry who will be taking the stage during this special event:

  • Chris Crawford, veteran game developer and founder of the Game Developers Conference, discussing the origins of the event & what the industry was like then.
  • Lori Cole, designer at Transolar Games and veteran Sierra adventure game developer (Quest For Glory), discussing the vital history of the adventure game.
  • Graeme Devine, chief Game Wizard at Magic Leap and longtime game developer (The 7th Guest), talking about the rise of the CD-ROM game & new storage devices.
  • Phil Harrison, founder of Alloy Platform Industries and former exec at Microsoft and Sony, talking about the genesis and rise of the PlayStation platform.
  • Raph Koster, longtime game designer and "A Theory of Fun" author, talking about the history of MMOs through the '90s and beyond.
  • Dave Jones, creative director at Reagent Games and one-time cofounder of DMA Design, discussing his original creation, Grand Theft Auto.
  • Ken Lobb, partner creative director at Microsoft Studios and veteran game developer, talking about digital distribution and Xbox Live Arcade.
  • Chelsea Howe, creative director for notable mobile games at Electronic Arts will be discussing the genesis of free to play games.
  • Luke Muscat, creative director at Prettygreat, designer of Land Sliders Fruit Ninja, talking about the smartphone explosion and rise of the App Store.
  • Tim Schafer. president and CEO of Double Fine Productions, discussing crowdfunding in the game industry.
  • Seth Killian, Radiant Entertainment designer and longtime fighting game industry expert, talking about the explosion in eSports.
  • Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR and all-around virtual reality advocate, discussing the rise - and future - of VR.

It's a riff on the annual Flash Forward talk showcases which give GDC attendees a quick peek at what to expect from the show every year, and like those events the Flash Backward will take place Wednesday, March 16th at 9:30 AM in the big ballroom in the west hall of Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. 

For more details on this extraordinary event and all the other great talks that will take place during this year's Game Developers Conference, check out the GDC Session Scheduler. While you're there, start planning your schedule! 

Of course, GDC 2016 itself will take place March 14-18th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. For more information on GDC 2016, visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via FacebookTwitter, or RSS.

Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech.

Latest Jobs

Sucker Punch Productions

Bellevue, Washington
Combat Designer

Xbox Graphics

Redmond, Washington
Senior Software Engineer: GPU Compilers

Insomniac Games

Burbank, California
Systems Designer

Deep Silver Volition

Champaign, Illinois
Senior Environment Artist
More Jobs   


Register for a
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Account

Game Developer Newsletter


Register for a

Game Developer Account

Gain full access to resources (events, white paper, webinars, reports, etc)
Single sign-on to all Informa products

Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more