GDC was particularly special this year — with a total of seven Novy team members attending! Grace, Aaron and Blane had never been to GDC before (let alone San Francisco) — and they were invaluable to us at the Daylight Studios booth. We couldn’t have done it without them! GDC “veterans” by comparison — Drew and Cat — ended up having their own unique experiences: Drew got to help keep the GDC wheels turning by being a Conference Associate (CA), and Cat got some well-deserved appreciation (e.g., receiving the MVP Award from the IGDA) for her efforts in bringing IGDA and Intel together for the Global Diversity & Inclusion initiative, leading the WIG SIG, and more! Here are some reflections . . . in their own words 🙂
“GDC 2015 was the first time I’d ever attended or visited San Francisco. Conventions have always peaked my interest with new toys in every booth. This convention was different, however. I went with Novy! It was a blast helping out at the Daylight Studios booth. Their game Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! was adorable and easily attracted a large, energetic crowd. Going as someone to help manage a booth let me really see how much work goes on behind the tables. I’d love to go back again for the next one to get to see what new things everyone brings to showcase.”
– Aaron Goldman, QA Coordinator
“My very first GDC was a truly memorable experience — and one I was happy I didn’t miss! It was after the persistent encouragement of Jeannie Novak and Luis Levy [Novy co-conspirators], I made the decision to attend. Like my coworker, Blane Humphries, this was also the first event I decided to attend as a public relations professional — and not as a journalist. I was so excited to be there, and I couldn’t wait to get started! We spent most of our time in the GDC Play area assisting our client, Daylight Studios, with their booth. Considering how cute Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! is, attracting people to the booth was not a difficult task. It was challenging to be front and center with Daylight Studios because I had never met or spoken with any of our clients before. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect — but everyone was incredibly friendly, and it made getting into the groove of things much easier. One of the best parts of the event was experiencing how diverse the industry is and meeting devs from around the world. My first GDC was nothing short of amazing, and I am looking forward to coming back!”
– Grace Lim, PR Coordinator
Aaron and Grace after picking up their GDC badges . . . for the first time.
“GDC 2015 was a unique experience for me. This was the first time I had been to California, and I was incredibly excited about visiting the West Coast. I live in Atlanta, so I was a bit nervous if I was going to discover that I was secretly a redneck in denial. Thankfully, that did not happen — but GDC still felt like stepping into another world . . . a gloriously wonderful world. I had attended conferences before, like PAX East in Boston, but this was the first time I had been to GDC. This was also the first conference I had attended as a PR professional and not a journalist, so it was interesting being on the other side of the table.
We were at GDC to represent Daylight Studios (Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!) and assist them with their booth. Working with such a unique game raised many eyebrows and brought an interesting set of challenges. We were constantly packed with people, and everyone wanted to take pictures with our giant potato dog plushie. People loved that potato dog so much so that I even had to save it from being dog-napped. (I’m not exaggerating.) During the craziness, I discovered that I can hold a conversation with up to 20 people simultaneously; it’s quite impressive, actually.
Blane guarding the infamous potato dog at the Daylight Studios/HPAWS booth.
GDC went by so fast. There was always something to do — every minute of every day. The whole experience was an incredibly sleep-deprived, adrenaline-rushed blur — but it was worth every second.”
– Blane Humphries, Media Coordinator
“GDC 2015 was the year of family for me. This was my fourth time being at the event, but it was my first time being a Conference Associate. Between being a CA, representing Novy Unlimited, and seeing old friends, it certainly felt like I was at home. One of my highlights was the Novy company dinner where I was finally able to meet some of the people I work with in person after working together remotely for the past year. Another highlight was attending the IGN party where I caught up with friends and got to play some up and coming indie games. I was also proud of my friend Raine Scott, who was an IGDA Scholar — and finding out that I was their inspiration and mentor meant a lot to me. Overall, the conference was a huge success — and I can’t wait to check the GDC Vault for the sessions I couldn’t attend!”
– Drew Utterback, Technology Coordinator
Drew with the rest of the Novy team — wearing his friendly yellow Conference Associate shirt 🙂
“Every GDC I have attended has been more wonderful (and busy) than the last (thanks in no small part to the Herculean efforts of Meggan Scavio, the general manager of the event). I had a hunch that this year, my fifth making the trek into my favorite city for the conference, would be special. I wasn’t wrong.
The item that dominated my itinerary was the IGDA Foundation Intel Scholars program. I had the incredible honor of being program leader for this fantastic project, which was born of Intel’s recently announced diversity initiative. Twenty-nine talented women students received scholarships to attend GDC as part of this effort, and it was my job to make sure they got the most out of it. Luckily, I had the help of three amazing volunteers who generously gave their time to making sure everything ran smoothly: Sela Davis, Renee Nejo, and Andi Schmoll.
I also attended GDC in my capacity as chair for the IGDA’s Women in Games Special Interest Group (WIG SIG). We were proud to organize a session on how to advocate for diversity from within your company — presented by my brilliant co-chair, Anne Toole. It was an eye-opening workshop that featured actionable advice from Kate Edwards, Sheri Graner Ray, Manveer Heir, and Tim Borrelli. We also held our annual roundtable, where we presented on our activities from the past year, swapped stories, and brainstormed on what to do in the year to come with close to 50 conference attendees. Highlights from our efforts in the past year included helping bring the IGDA Developer Satisfaction Survey to life (spearheaded by steering committee member, Celia Pearce), the launch of a series of monthly interviews featuring women in game development at all levels of their careers (run by Anne Toole), an education series designed to help women gain the confidence to apply to present more often at industry conferences (also run by Anne), and the development of the IGDA’s online harassment resource center. There was also our annual networking social, a small gathering that brings industry women together in a casual and safe environment.
I was surprised and honored to receive an MVP award from the IGDA for my work on the online harassment resource center, the IGDA newsletter (of which I was art director for nearly five years), and various other volunteer contributions I’ve made to the organization since I joined in 2008.
Cat with her well-deserved IGDA MVP award.
Other highlights included the Microsoft Women in Games Luncheon (a delight every year), collaborating on a birthday surprise for the executive director of the IGDA, and intense-yet-awesome conversations that ended up going through the night and into the morning (a classic part of the GDC experience). I also enjoyed making new friends, reconnecting with old ones — and of course, meeting with the rest of the Novy team in person! Despite the challenges of being overbooked at GDC, we managed to get together for an excellent dinner — where we had a little too much fun trying to get a good group picture. (My apologies to the wonderful and patient waitress at Chevys!)”
– Cat Wendt, Marketing Coordinator
Yes, it was a conference to remember for all of us. Looking forward to more fun moments next year 🙂
[For more cool GDC 2015 images, see the Novy Unlimited Tumblr Blog!]