2009 Game Developers Conference organizers have revealed that "My First Time" is the theme for this year's Game Design Challenge, with Infocom veteran Steve Meretzky, Portal
co-creator Kim Swift and Habbo
lead designer Sulka Haro twinning "sex and autobiography" in their game concepts.
The longrunning event, organized and MC-ed by Gamelab chief design officer Eric Zimmerman, is taking place
on Wednesday, March 25 from 2:30 to 3:30pm at this year's GDC, held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
There's a rich heritage of odd, fulfilling Challenges in previous years, with last year's Challenge seeing
Brenda Brathwaite (Wizardry
) and Meretzky take on 2007 champion Alexey Pajitnov (Tetris
) in designing an “inter-species game”. Other previous highlights have included 2006's 'Nobel Peace Prize' challenge
, won by SimCity
creator Will Wright. among many others.
The official description for this year's Challenge reads as follows:
"Welcome back for another year and another Game Design Challenge, where three amazing game design greats create original concepts around a very unusual game design problem. Join us as returning champ Steve Meretzky squares off against two new challengers.
The design challenge: 'My First Time'. Our three contestants will be pitching a concept that brings together two unexplored themes for games: sex and autobiography.
Enough with sci-fi, fantasy, and the usual pulp genres - it's time for games to tackle heavier subject matter that artists in other media have been wrestling with for centuries.
At the session, each panelist presents a unique solution to this game design enigma. And the audience plays an important role as well - by voting in the winner of the Game Design Challenge 2009. Expect a free-wheeling session of brave new game design ideas, along with unpredictable debate and dialog."
More information on the lecture, and Game Developers Conference 2009 in general, is available at the official GDC website