If you are serious about games, you need to check out the best game conferences. To make the most of your opportunity, it’s crucial that you find the one which is right for you. Luckily, American University’s Game Lab team has checked them all out and can give you the info you need.
The Game Developers Conference, GDC, hosts pros from all corners of the gaming world. Everyone from audio designers to business executives attend. Based out of the tech-hub of San Francisco, GDC is the perfect forum for graduate students to learn and gain access to a wide range of awesome opportunities. The American University Game Lab travels to this conference for those opportunities. Lindsay Grace, founding director of the American University Game Lab and Studio, has even spoken on panels at the conference. He’s a game-creator whose work has been inducted to the Games for Change Festival’s Hall of Fame. What’s Games for Change? Keep reading to find out!
2. Games for Change
Games for Change is a non-profit corporation that puts on a yearly festival specifically for those who believe that gaming should both entertain and be a tool for social progress. Benjamin Stokes, an assistant professor in the AU Game Lab, co-founded Games for Change to bring together forward-thinking designers. Hosted in NYC, this fest is for anyone who has a knack for creating change through games. AU grad students hosted a table in 2015, and are constantly involved in this can’t-miss event.
But what if you’re looking to find the next Braid or Super Meat Boy? Then you need to venture into the realm of indie gaming. Two top indie conferences are Indiecade and Indie Arcade.
Indiecade is the largest event of its kind. While there, you’ll get to meet legends of the indie gaming world, and demo over 200 innovative games from around the globe. Maybe you’ll even submit your own work, like Game Lab Assistant Professor Mike Treanor, whose game, Prom Week, was a finalist or Assistant Professor Benjamin Stokes whose game Sankofa Says was featured at the festival.
4. Indie Arcade
With more than 11,000 participants in 2016, Indie Arcade can’t be beat. Supported by the trailblazing team at the AU Game Lab in partnership with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, this yearly pop-up arcade celebrates America’s independent game developers and creates a perfect forum for experiencing the future of gaming. For a closer look at the festival in action check out this short video.
Not your typical conference, Magfest blends gaming with music to provide an awesome mash-up. Chris Totten, Game Designer in Residence at AU, presented his game, Dead Man’s Trail, at the Indie Game Showcase of the 2016 Magfest to rave reviews. Chris and Lindsay Grace have also sat on panels for the event. Its DC location makes it convenient for all members of the AU Game Lab.
6. DiGRA + FDG
How about something brand new? This year, the DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association) and FDG (Foundations of Digital Games) conferences will join forces for their first ever joint international conference. Hosted in Scotland, this collaborative academic conference has six tracks including game design, game criticism and analysis, game technology and artificial intelligence. One of the hallmarks of the event is the Doctoral Consortium, headed by AU Assistant Professor, Mike Treanor, who will work with students in the early stages of their Ph.D. The AU Game Lab is also co-sponsoring a hallmark of the conference, Blank Arcade, being co-curated by Lindsay Grace.
The other hallmark of this event is the diverse workshops it offers. If you can make it, don’t miss the Social Believability in Games Workshops that AU’s own Joshua McCoy helped organize. We all know games are better when the characters are believable, but how do you make an authentic character? Find that answer and more with this immersive workshop at this robust conference.
Interested in the Gaming? Start your path to gamer glory at the American University Game Lab.