There was definitely one big name at GDC last year who requires no introduction: Miyamoto. People waited in an incredibly long line last year to hear the father of Mario, Link -- and in many ways, Nintendo -- speak. Some people had life altering experiences after meeting with his holiness, while others showed their love by simply serenading the man; however, the best use of Miyamoto's time at GDC was certainly his guest appearance in a Mega64 skit where he gave an award-winning performance as a man faced with the horror of seeing his own creation in cos-play form.
Now, you may have wondered at some point: "Hey, this is a pretty male-dominated industry. Does that mean you guys wait in long lines for the men's room at these conventions?" Well, yes, if you prescribe to basic rules in polite society, but there used to be alternatives. While walking around GDC's halls of DOOM and humoring mobile game makers so we can get free drinks, eventually it's time to break the seal in the closest, presumably empty, women's bathroom. Sadly, something that's changing rapidly is the ability to find an empty women's bathroom. As we learned last year, we can no longer just duck into the girls room to bypass the absurdly long lines at the men's room anymore.
Women aren't the only "majority challenged" group starting to show up in larger and more vocal numbers within the industry. Many groups are seeking better representation within games and at companies. At two separate sessions we attended (although there were many more) there was discussion of race representation and of whether gay characters in games are becoming a "non-troversy."
The industry is slowly becoming a composite of many cultures and groups, but still struggles with whether or not games can be or are art. As that debate rages on, we're quite confident in saying that the i am 8-bit art show certainly displayed some beautiful pieces. We even came across an accidental piece of performance art during our time in the form of a random mo-cap guy talking on his mobile.
That's it for our reflection! Be sure to check out Joystiq next week as we descend on the Moscone Center in San Francisco to report on the latest news, try to grab some great interviews and more at the Game Developers Conference 2008.