GDC was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me this year! Not only were we fortunate enough to work with clients such as Level-5 Abby (YO-KAI WATCH Wibble Wobble) and Channel 4 | All 4 Games (Super Arc Light) during the show, but I got to celebrate my 50th birthday a little early with the majority of the Novy team at Fogo de Chão — one of the best Brazilian churrascarias around.
The team was amazing — working long hours at the Wibble Wobble booth, managing demos, interviews, and even organizing the shelves of YO-KAI WATCH plushies (thanks, Grace!). We had a blast roaming GDC Play — saying “hi” to old friends, colleagues, clients … and talking with many truly talented developers. As always, we were bombarded with meetings — but we had a blast hanging out with clients from all over the world that until then we had only chatted with or heard during Skype calls.
And now for some highlights from the Novy team….
Aaron Goldman (QA Coordinator)
GDC is always a great time for us at Novy. The convention gives us a chance to get together and spend some quality time outside of our normal work habits.The drive to and from is always a long one — where we bond and chat about what we’ve been up to. This year, Josh, Grace and Marcos were with me for the drive. We got to catch up with each other on the way and enjoyed an audiobook together on the way back.
This year, we spent much of our time with Level-5 at the YO-KAI WATCH Wibble Wobble booth. There was even a giant Jibanyan! Everyone enjoyed taking pictures with Jibanyan, who meowed and interacted with the crowds.
When I wasn’t at the booth, I was at GDC Play. There were incredible games this year! I got to browse through many games and absolutely loved most of them. Although I was unable to stop at all of the booths, I am excited to try the games I missed out on once they are released.
The whole week was a lot of fun! We got to enjoy some wonderful food and really spend some quality time together. I look forward to next year 🙂
Grace Lim (PR Coordinator)
I was very excited to be returning to GDC in San Francisco once again. Reuniting with the Novy team is always a delight, since most of us work in different corners of the United States. GDC flew by, and I miss them already (except for Aaron, since he’s just a short drive away from me) 😉
My time was mainly spent at the YO-KAI WATCH Wibble Wobble booth assisting Level-5 Abby. The booth was emblazoned with all things YO-KAI WATCH — from figurines, plushies, cushions . . . and even a giant Jibanyan — YO-KAI WATCH’s adorable mascot — straight from Japan! Jibanyan was so popular that the lines would spill out of our small booth — and the GDC staff had to come by and regulate. It was fun seeing everyone’s excitement and helping out with the picture-taking. I was happy to see that so many people used the hashtag (#wibblewobble) and shared their experience 🙂
Exploring GDC Play is one of my favorite things to do when attending the event. Not only are there an abundance of games to play, but there are passionate developers ready to share their unique stories about the creation process and their inspirations.There are some showcases around GDC that are based on region — and we ended up going to the Dutch Showcase, where our client, Arcane Circus, was showing off their upcoming release Crap! I’m Broke. I had already met Molly during GDC 2015, and it was great to see her again. It was also wonderful to meet her partner, Erik, in person after a long year of chatting on Skype. Many hugs were exchanged, and of course, a few photos were snapped!
I had a blast at GDC this year and look forward to attending again!
Marcos Montanez (Playthrough Coordinator)
What a wonderful experience it was to participate in GDC 2016! There was so much to see and do — and I was lucky enough to not only be there as a spectator, but to also work inside one of the booths. I spent a large portion of my time assisting at the YO-KAI WATCH Wibble Wobble booth and the rest of my time talking to developers and artists about the games they were showcasing.
Working at a booth at a major expo/conference has always been a dream of mine — and when I was told that Level-5 was going to need some help at its YO-KAI WATCH booth, I jumped at the opportunity. Being able to talk to people and get them excited about one of our client’s games was an amazing experience. Seeing people’s faces change from calm-and-collected business looks to childlike grins was great! Quickly explaining the controls then giving them the reins and watching them go was one of the best moments I had at GDC.
Another amazing moment at GDC was actually a combination of moments, which was meeting all the game developers that were/are clients of Novy Unlimited. Meeting game developers of games I wrote about, such as Super Phantom Cat, Crap I’m Broke: Out of Pocket, and Fort Triumph, was downright epic in my book. I couldn’t help myself and asked if I could take selfies with all of them. Listening to them talk about their games and telling me that the work we did for them really helped them build a better game made me so proud to be working at Novy.
I had a blast during my first GDC as a member of the Novy team! I was super impressed with the incredible booth that our partners at Level-5 Abby came up with, and the attention it received throughout the exhibition proved how awesome it was. I really enjoyed working with the Level-5 Abby staff to showcase Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble. Not to mention that Jinanyan cosplay with his “Paws of Fury” was absolutely adorable!
I also had an amazing time exploring the new and upcoming games at the Dutch Showcase and GDC Play. I met some amazing people and sampled several promising games. It’s so wonderful to see how much talent our industry has, and I am excited at the prospect of helping these people realize their dreams.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Novy cohorts for bringing me along on this adventure and for being so much fun to work with!
Brie Wendt (Research Coordinator)
This was my first year actually entering the hallowed halls of GDC at the Moscone Center — and considering it was the 30th anniversary, what an experience it was!
I was amazed by all the technological developments on the Expo floor, and I loved meeting all the creative and development teams in GDC Play — and I *especially* loved getting to play their games.
The palpable excitement I felt on the floor around VR and AR just speaks volumes toward the amazing releases we’ll be seeing soon. In particular, I was captivated by the Optitrack demonstration and could have stood there watching them for hours.
My only wish would have been to be able to have more time to spend at the conference, but I still feel like I had a more than full experience, and I’m really hopeful I’ll be able to return next year.
Cat Wendt (Account Manager – Creative & Marketing)
GDC 2016 was a whirlwind of wonderful experiences (which, frankly, is the norm). The week started with a flurry of activity for one of the nonprofits I volunteer with, the IGDA Foundation. As the program lead for its Women in Games Ambassadors program, I was excited to show 20 young women the ropes at GDC. We had an amazing week of special Q&A sessions, events, and bonding experiences. I was honored to work with an incredible team of women to execute on our events — Sela Davis, Heather Decker, Renee Nejo, and Kate Secor. I also spent a substantial amount of time at IGDA events, including the networking event Tuesday evening (where our ambassadors demoed their games), the MVP luncheon, and the Chapter & SIG Leaders dinner.
Sometime during the week, my sore feet and I hit the expo floor to check out some of Novy’s clients. It’s always heartwarming to see these amazing people representing their passion projects. Yo-kai Watch had an ADORABLE booth with an even cuter kitty cat mascot from Wibble Wobble bringing in foot traffic.
The topic-du-GDC was definitely VR in 2016. My expectation is that AR will be the real front-runner over time, but only time will tell!
On Wednesday, I ran a women in games roundtable for the IGDA WIG SIG with a room so full we ended up having to turn people away. The overflow turned into its own roundtable session run by a few volunteers. It is always humbling to hear what amazing things women in our industry are up to, and there were some fantastic ideas for new initiatives for the group to lead in the next year. Later that evening, I had the pleasure of having a team Novy dinner, where we celebrated a big birthday for Jeannie!
Thursday was the ever-fantastic Microsoft women in games luncheon. There were several inspiring speakers, delicious food, and incredible company. That evening, I helped throw the IGDA Foundation’s mixer event, where we welcomed program alumni, the board of trustees, volunteers, and other program supporters for a night of good food and even better company.
Friday came too quickly — before I knew it, we were lined up for goodbye photos for the IGDA Foundation, and I was off to run a post-mortem event for the Women in Games Ambassadors.
A highlight of the week was definitely hanging out with the friends I only get to see once a year (including the Novy team — hugs to all of them!). It’s a special kind of reunion with lots of late-night milkshake runs to Denny’s, intense-but-fabulous conversations, and zillions of selfies. 🙂
This was my fourth GDC and perhaps my busiest one. Well, honestly, all GDCs are busy ones. In the past, I’ve attended GDC as a conference associate and as an IGDA Scholar, but this time, I was attending GDC as part of the Triforce, which coordinates the IGDA Scholars program.
IGDA Scholarships are given to the best and brightest students desiring to work in and make a difference in the game industry. Eighteen GDC scholarship recipients were selected this year from all around the world and from a variety of educational backgrounds. Being a part of this program not only assisted them in coming to the largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event, it also pairs them up with game industry veteran mentors, takes them on studio tours, and gets them access to exclusive events. For example, this year, we’ve toured Zynga and Double Fine and had the scholars privately speak with long-time industry vets, such as Tim Schafer, Don Daglow, Mike Acton, Tim O’Leary, and Reiko Ninomiya.
Being an IGDA volunteer also included setting up and running events at GDC, such as the Tuesday-night IGDA networking event, the IGDA Foundation mixer on Thursday, and more. I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty details! In the little free time I had, I was busy networking and attending narrative and audio (with a particular focus on voiceover) talks. Throughout the week, as typical of GDC, it was great meeting old friends and making new ones.
GDC is always an awarding experience. The week of GDC is one I highly anticipate every year. Oh, and what part of the Triforce am I? Well, I guess I’m the Triforce of Courage since it has been pointed out to me that I resemble Link. Hiyaa!
Blane Humphries (Account Manager – PR & Consulting)
I was so happy to be a part of the Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble booth at GDC 2016! The team at Level-5 Abby was super fun to work with, and we had an adorable Jibanyan cosplayer to help us attract huge crowds. We were showing off the new mobile game Yo-Kai Watch: Wibble Wobble, a puzzle RPG that has players connecting matching Yo-Kai spirits to attack enemy Yo-Kai. The response was unbelievable; once people started playing, they couldn’t stop. We even had other Novy clients stop by the booth to play the game and get pictures with Jibanyan.
There’s really nothing quite like managing a super crowded booth at a major industry conference. It’s both exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. However, there are few things that are as rewarding. This also shows off another side of the PR business — event management. Not only do you need to be able to juggle several different conversations and watch the booth, but you also need to make sure you’re finding and attracting the press so that they will check out your game. Press hunting at GDC was crucial this year since we were located near the back of the expo hall, but once people started talking about us and our Jibanyan costume, it was easy to guide press to the booth.
Out on the show floor, it was obvious that VR is the next big thing. There were hints at it last year, but this year, there was no denying it. Nearly everyone was showcasing some technology to do with VR. If this isn’t a sign that we are living in the future, then I don’t know what is.
One of the benefits of major conferences like GDC is that they give all of us at Novy an excuse to get together. Since we’re scattered all across the U.S., we don’t get to see each other very often, so when we do, each day feels like a party.