I hope it’s safe to tell this story now.
Back in 2007 I was in an organization called DeFrag. We ran our college’s gaming community, and as such, we got a few perks here and there. The main perk was getting first dibs on going to the Game Developer’s Conference. So we typically got the expo pass which was a sort of lame pass. You don’t really get to hear any of the amazing talks, you just harass vendors in the expo hall for 3 days straight.
In an effort to do something cool, we were starting up a podcast right about the time GDC was starting. One of the brilliant masterminds in DeFrag, I think it was Kevin Reedy, decided to try and get press passes for us, even though we hadn’t even recorded an episode yet. Well it turns out that the press requirements were almost non-existent back then. I think we had a website with no content and that must have been enough for them.
So Kevin and I got press passes that year, which meant we had free reign over the convention and even some special access. We asked around and found out that we could get into the front area of the Game Developer’s Choice Awards and bring a few friends as well. So we gathered up a bunch of passes so everyone could get in and we sorta snuck up there. We were shocked to be this close to all the major developers. This was really my first exposure to the other side of the velvet rope.
The first person we managed to corner and interview was Tim Schafer of Psychonaughts fame. We did an interview with him that I barely remember. My hands were shaking and our questions were pointless. Tim was great. He was really nice and sincere to a bunch of lame kids who obviously were out of their league. I can’t seem to find that old podcast but it’s around somewhere on the internet.
It wasn’t until after we walked away from him that someone also reminded me that he did Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. These were my favorite titles growing up. And I’m glad I didn’t realize this until he had left because I think I would have passed out or creamed myself. Or both.
So we stood around awkwardly for a while looking for someone else to talk to and they started ushering the press out of the area for the show. One of our more outgoing friends, Google Joe, decided he was going to ask around if any of the tables had free space for us to sit with them during the ceremony. We thought he was just going to make an ass of himself but he came back a minute later saying he got a table for us.
So we walked over, passing tables clearly marked with some of the major hitters out there like Nintendo and Konami. I think I spotted Miyamoto and got really nervous and excited. We knew we were definitely not supposed to be there.
So we all come upon Rockstar’s table. We sit down and the gentleman there is telling us it’s totally cool. He was also dressed like a British soldier or something. Anyway, we sit down and we all look super nervous. We come to find out that the guy we were sitting with wasn’t even from Rockstar. Turn’s out, he always squats at their tables because they never show up to award shows. At this point we are sort of freaking out because we were wearing hoodies with our college’s name on them and if we got in trouble our school would probably not be so happy.
Oh and on top of that, we turn around to see our group’s adviser from our college staring at us with shock and horror in his eyes. Good times.
So the ceremony starts and we slowly come to realize that one of Rockstar’s games is up for multiple awards. Our new partner in crime tells up he will probably go up and accept it for them. His calm attitude made everything seem a bit less scandalous. They didn’t win anything anyway.
I wish I had an awesome way to end this story but we got away with it (Boring, I know.) I think we later found out that the British soldier guy was some game’s journalist but I can’t recall whom. Probably not too hard to find again.
So, uh…. the moral of the story is, don’t miss an opportunity to get a snipping of Tim Shafer’s hair for your satanic shrine. And study up on your famous game developers so you can appropriately nerd-gasm on them.