Infocom co-founder Dave Lebling will be giving a (long overdue?) postmortem talk on the classic text adventure Zork at GDC 2014. Lebling, who currently works as a Senior Principal Engineer at BAE Systems, created the "grue" and co-authored Zork I-III, as well as several other classic text adventures. His hour-long talk promises to shed some light on the creation of both the mainframe and microcomputer versions of Zork, the trials and tribulations of coding a cutting-edge text parser, and what it was like to experiment with self-publishing at a time when most PC games were sold in hand-packed plastic bags.
GDC organizers also announced several interactive events for the March conference including playable board games from video game designers, a 5-minute game trivia competition hosted by iam8bit, and a number of video game history exhibits. These events will be free to all GDC passholders (from Expo to All-Access) at various points during the week of the 2014 Game Developers Conference, March 17-21, and can be found in the 'common areas' across the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.
The exhibits and events, as described by GDC organizers, are:
'Doing It On The Table' Board Game Exhibit
Curated by veteran game designer Eric Zimmerman, this card and board game lounge, playfully titled 'Doing It On The Table', returns to the second floor of Moscone West for GDC 2014.
The exhibit will once again showcase board and card games from notable video game developers, and all games on display – with specific titles to be announced soon – will be playable throughout the conference.
The MADE Game History Exhibit
Meanwhile, the second floor of the Moscone West building will also host a historical exhibit from Oakland's own Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment. This year, the museum will focus on playables including LucasArts games and Zork, in honor of the Classic Postmortems on those subjects. The MADE staff also intend to host 'retro meet-ups' throughout GDC 2014 for those who previous made games for classic consoles and computers, so stay tuned for topics and times.
The Wild Rumpus Returns
Indie video game showcase collective Wild Rumpus is coming back to GDC 2014 following last year's 'Indie Game World Championships' success, which featured titles like Beau Blyth's Samurai Gunn and Ramiro Corbetta's sporty Hokra. This year's exhibit is provisionally titled 'Mild Rumpus', and will be a whole other kettle of fish (and something well worth checking out!) — find it on the second floor of Moscone West.
Videogame History Museum – Nintendo & More!
Attendees in Moscone North can check out the return of the Videogame History Museum exhibit. After the success of last year's exhibit, the non-profit is showing a micro-museum of rare collectibles and playables from the history of Japanese video game giant Nintendo – alongside other retro exhibits and classic playable arcade machines.
Iam8Bit Game Trivia Challenge
L.A. collective iam8bit, the instigators of the wondrous "Class of GDC" photo booth for GDC 2013 and 'Super Magnetic Game-O-Matic' and 'Painting With Pixels' in previous years, returns to the lower lobby of the Moscone North Hall this year with a special custom interactive experience. The concept? To provide foolhardy conference attendees with the opportunity to show off their game trivia knowledge – while participating in a real-life 5-minute game show. Join in the fun on-site!
ALT.CTRL.GDC Alternative Controller Exhibit
Finally, and actually ending up on the North Hall exhibit floor from Wednesday to Friday, ALT.CTRL.GDC is a special showcase for unique game peripherals, contraptions and novelties "which enhance game experiences and challenge traditional forms of input." A full announcement of the 10+ playable games in the showcase will be made in the near future.
You can learn more about this year's GDC by visiting www.gdconf.com/.