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GDC '08: Game designers sound off

Annual rant session sees most speakers surprisingly happy; Wii belittler Chris Hecker invited back to pick up a Duct Tape Award.


SAN FRANCISCO--The infamous annual Game Designers Rant took place today, with real life, lack of mature content, and stagnation some of the things that made the panel really, really angry.

Clint Hocking from Ubisoft was first up on the stage, and he was particularly angry about the lack of meaningful content in best-selling games. He said, "Why don't we make games that challenge people? Why can't we make a game that matters? Why the f*** don't we learn from these smaller games and plug them into our blockbusters? Why isn't Call of Duty--why can't it actually be about duty? Why isn't Medal of Honor about honour?"

He added that, "[It's] not surprising with this item fetishism that the most meaningful relationship this year in AAA games is with a f***ing cube."

Jonathan Mak of Queasy Games took an existential angle on his rant. The Everyday Shooter developer asked the audience to stand up, then gave out balloons and other party gear, and swapped places with a random member of the audience and asked her to rant--although she said she was perfectly happy and couldn't think of anything to rant about.


Jane McGonigal from Avant Game was up next, and she chose to address the issue of how much real life sucked compared to games. She said, "My rant is about the fact that reality is broken and it's our responsibility to fix it. We need a real world as good as a game." She gave the examples of some games which could make everyday chores count as experience points in a role-playing game, for example.

Next, Zimmerman invited last year's top ranter Chris Hecker back for a special guest rant, and presented him with a roll of duct tape as an award for the 'most media-grabbing rant.' Zimmerman then gave Hecker a duct tape sash. Last year Hecker was widely quoted in the media as saying that the Wii "is just two GameCubes duct taped together." Shortly after this pronouncement he issued an apology.

He said, "I stand by my apology last year. The reason I'm still into ranting is because complacency equals death. Games could become the eminent art form of the 21st century, but on the current trajectory we're going I'm not sure we're going to get there."

Jenova Chen from That Game Company then took to the stage, saying that as a gamer he wanted to see more adult content, and by adult he didn't mean more Dead or Alive Extreme. He said, "I want more mature content for people who are grown up like us and still want to play games. We don't need any more Three Little Pigs; we need more The Little Prince."

Last up was Daniel James from Three Rings, who declared that he was blissfully happy with everything right now, and that once the session was ended, he was going to get "very, very drunk" to celebrate.

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