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GDC Preview: Top Events You Shouldn't Miss

In this Gamasutra preview of the Game Developers Conference, Game Developer Magazine managing editor Jill Duffy gives her run-down of GDC events that shouldn't be missed, like the return of the Video Games Live concert, and the San Francisco debut of the
As part of Gamasutra's preview of this year's Game Development Conference, Game Developer Magazine managing editor Jill Duffy gives her run-down of GDC events that shouldn't be missed: "If there’s one evening we editors don’t miss, it’s the night of the big ball. Wednesday, March 7, marks The Game Developer Choice Awards and Independent Games Festival Awards. After last year’s winners of the IGF grand prize stomped on stage in tuxedos, we all may be obliged to arrive in cocktail attire this time around. We love the Choice Awards for their honesty and integrity, since developers themselves nominate and vote for the games that are recognized, and we love the IGF for its dedication to people who make games free of publisher influence. The party starts at 6:30 p.m. Somewhere between the awards galas, bar hopping, niche group gatherings, “by wristband-only” parties, complimentary hor d’ oeuvres, and drink tickets, there’s business to be done. Game Connection, a GDC tradition for deal making, will be happening on Monday and Tuesday, March 5 and 6. Game Connection is a prime way for developers to meet with publishers, and vice versa, with no pretense of network schmoozing. Developers looking to make games based on either a publisher’s IP or their own original ideas are welcome; prior registration is suggested, but attendees can register at the door, too. In conjunction with Game Connection, a new Game Connection Services event is also being held this year on Thursday and Friday, March 8 and 9, for ancillary deals in the world of video game creation, including contract service providers and outsourcing agencies. Publishers and development studios can hook up with these companies during this two-day series of one-to-one meetings. Suite Night at GDC always sounds as if it could be gimmicky. It’s billed as a networking party hosted by leading game companies held in one of San Francisco’s more chic (yet chain) hotels, The W. However, once I get over the worry of whether I can hang with the best namedroppers in the pack, I usually find Suite Night to be much more relaxed and unpretentious than I always fear it will be. Whether you’re in it for the “meet market” or the mingling, doors will be open Thursday, March 8 from 8 to 10 p.m. All day Thursday and Friday, a Game Career Seminar will be taking over the second floor of Moscone’s West Hall. Because the GDC organizers have already thrown two similar and highly invigorating events in 2006 (one in Valley Forge, Penn., one in London, both of which I had the pleasure to attend) I have faith that this one will be equally appealing to industry newcomers and hopefuls. Once upon a time, 100 game-geek artists found one another and united their forces for good. They collectively created i am 8-bit, a mixed media art exhibit that pays homage to the days of blocky pixels and optical tricks, and sometime in the long Monday to Friday stretch, I’ll find an hour to idle my way through the upper lobby of Moscone Center’s North Hall, where the group’s artwork will be showcased. On Friday night, when we can finally unwind a bit, we plan to kick back with a 40 oz., put our feet up, and watch a Pink Floyd laser light show. “Dude! Totally...” Oh come now. In all seriousness, Friday night brings us Video Games Live, an orchestral and choral rendition of the best music from the last 20-plus years of video game history. Multimedia junkies will find it oh so much more rewarding than said laser light show. Houselights are set to dim promptly at 8 p.m. Friday, March 9."

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