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Video: The good ol' days of games, according to Chris Crawford

Legendary game dev and CGDC founder Chris Crawford examines the technical and interpersonal resources developers have gained over the past 25 years, and the diversity modern games may have lost.

August 12, 2013

2 Min Read

"The fundamental constraint holding back game design [is] the lack of people."

-- Legendary game designer Chris Crawford (Balance of Power, Eastern Front (1941)) reflects on how games are still merely about things and not people, which he first observed in 1982 and which he felt still held true during his GDC 2011 talk. Crawford's appearance at the 25th anniversary of GDC was particularly special, as he was the founder of the original event, then called the Computer Game Developers Conference. In this talk, titled "In Days of Yore," he revisits the computers of the time (including the Altair 8800, Atari 2600, and Commodore 64), and discusses both the technical and interpersonal resources professionals have gained to make games, and the diversity that he feels modern games have lost. During the 20-minute Q&A session, Crawford shares his observations between the DIY developers of the 1980s and the rising indie scene. The two differences he spots are how the diversity of games isn't as great from indies, which he believes is because "their minds have already been diluted by what's already out there...people's imaginations weren't bound by past history [then] because there was no tradition at all." He also notes that there is now a much lower signal-to-noise ratio, with many more indies making it "really hard to find those few gems in it."

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC China already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscriptions via a GDC Vault inquiry form. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can find out more here. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins. Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from other events like GDC China and GDC 2013. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS. Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech.

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