GDC : Should I Worry About This, or Not?

I’m going to GDC this year for the first time.
For some reason, yesterday I got the idea that at 44 years old, I’m too old to be going for the first time.
I can’t get it out of my head. I really don’t think it’s a legit concern, but it’s still bugging me.
Should I care?

Wut? You’ll have a great time. Give us a report when you get back.

I haven’t been in a while, but GDC is still fundamentally a professional conference. There’s no age that’s too old for it. As long as you’re involved in the industry, you’ll have plenty in common with everybody around you.

Too old? Pishaw, it sounds awesome, and you’re never too old to be doing what you love! I’m sure you’ll have a great time JJ. :)

Don’t worry about it, there are lots of fossils in the game development industry…

Why would you ever be too old for GDC?

I’m not sure why I was feeling like 44 was too old. I still “feel” like a shy kid, going in for the first time with all the adults. Then I look in the mirror. The mind’s eye is a powerful thing.

That’s adorable man, seriously. Be the kid, enjoy the wonder, soak it in. :)

From what I gather, GDC is a professional conference, so I guess that if you’re a game designer then you’ll be welcome there regardless of your age.

What I’m afraid might happen, though, is that if you’re already thinking you’re too old, going there might exacerbate the matter to the extent that you might end up wanting to leave the industry altogether to pursue something more “suitable” for your age.

Well, to be honest, the industry is not a healthy place for most people, regardless of age.

heh went to my first blizzcon last fall at 40… had a blast. age is just a number!!! And as it was stated previously, the GDC is a professional conference to boot!

Well, if we’re talking about general convention attendence, I just went to LunaCon this year, which is a small local sci-fi convention that dates back to the 50’s. I’m pretty sure most of the people there remember attending the first one. The average age appeared to be somewhere between 50 and dead.

The only convention I attended where I felt too old was an Anime convention. Nothing like a large hall full of young girls in cosplay outfits to make an adult man feel like the creepy old guy. :)

I went to my first GDC at the tender age of 42.

Ironically, if you had intentionally dressed like a creepy old man, you’d fit right in.

No way is 44 too old, neither is 54 or 60. I’d think if you had to deal with any concern, it would be you might get bored if you’re not a game designer.

Wow! I found my people!
I’m a programmer by trade, but a game designer by heart.
Today I saw Yu Suzuki talk about how he designed Shemue. I had no idea he worked on Space Harrier! I was almost in tears when I was so happy.
Also, saw Brenda Romero talk about making “great” games. It was really cool.
Also talked to tons of inde devs, and played their games, and was blown away by some of the devices in alt.cntrl.
This is soooo much better than E3 and/or the Apple WWDC. By miles better.

That sounds awesome Jupiter :)

So, in the end, I did not feel old, but I did feel a bit out of place. The classic game postmortems (Shenmue, Robotron, Zork, Lucasfilm) were great, and I felt the most at-ease and belonging in those. I could apply the game design to my own ideas, and the technical aspects to making one and two team person indie games. However in the “academic” sessions about game design, I felt a bit disconnected. I felt like I needed to run home and read up on a bunch of blogs and theories just so I could keep up with them.

One funny note, in many of those “academic” sessions I could hear echoes of Chris Crawford. Many of them were about creating systems and emergent game play, and removing stories from games and create real human interactions. That all the same stuff Crawford got “run out of town” for talking about. As a fan of Chris Crawford, I felt vindicated, but at the same I wondered if this new crop of game designers knew that they had not really come up with anything new, they had just been fortunate enough to be around when those same ideas became hip and cool.

Chris Crawford hasn’t shipped anything for decades.