At GDC last week, I didn’t see the main floor at all, and only attended four sessions. And I was speaking in two of them. Instead, this article is about stuff. Recently, I’ve actually become anti-stuff. I have an article draft about anti-materialism that will expand on this. However, shwag is different. Shwag is goofy, sublime, and like in any good RPG, a rare collectible. So let’s get started.
Since I’m ruling out the faded, American Apparel Kingdom Age tee, I’m picking the official GDC T-shirt. It’s a dark shirt with a tone-matched 1950s cartoon image of a scientist at a microscope, with call-outs of various videogamey observations he’s making. The patch on the scientist’s coat says GDC I am 8-bit, so I assume the design is by the latter. It’s definitely a T-shirt I would wear.
Runner up: Google. It’s white, and very Google-branded, but it’s got a vaguely Underground-looking image on the back which is cool.
At the bottom of the official GDC bag was a little bubble-wrapped object. I opened it, and it was a little game controller, called the Zeemote. It’s a bluetooth joystick for smartphones and tablets, although as far as I can tell, it’s Android only. My Samsung Galaxy was appropriated by QA, so I have yet to actually try it. But it certainly seems promising. Especially since R-Type, that beautifully difficult arcade classic, is one of the games that’s optimized for it.
Runner up: The Sphero. We’ve talked about this at CES and in the GDC live blog already, but just to recap, it’s a bluetooth white ball roughly the size of a thermal detonator, that you can direct along the floor with your smartphone. Also, you can use it as a controller in games. I actually did try it, and it was a lot of fun, but alas I didn’t actually get it, a key component of shwag.
The EAP VIP drink list. On the bar, were several polycarbonate (Applespeak for plastic) standees describing the five signature cocktails of the evening. Each was named after a recent EAP-published title, so there was the The Portal, The Shank, The Warp, and so on. This I thought was a very elegant way to continue to show respect and support for the developers the studio publishes. I’ve seen CAA do this too at E3, but theirs I recall was printed on paper. This was a very cool refinement of the idea.
Runner up: The Tapjoy shot glasses and beer mugs. I saw them at the party, they looked like they were very high quality. But since I don’t like doing shots or drinking beer, I didn’t get either. So, not strictly speaking shwag.
The App Annie deck in the official GDC bag. It highlights the top 50 developers on the Apple App Store, as derived from App Annie Analytics. And yes, Funzio’s in the deck. That was a really nice thing to see, since we had no forewarning this was going to happen. Of course it wins!
Runner up: Magic: The Gathering. I played for the first time Friday night. Holy crap is this complex. I didn’t keep any cards, so not really shwag.
The GDC re-sign chocolates. When we re-signed for our Career Pavilion booth, we got a handful of GDC-branded chocolate bars. I have no appetite at the moment, so I haven’t tried them yet. But it’s the thought that counts. Although, I vaguely recall the re-sign gift being champagne. Maybe that’s for the main show floor?
Runner up: Water. Cases of water bottles in the Funzio booth. Okay, trade show booths are the third exception to the water bottle rule, that’s it.
GDC 12 Plague. Nice try, but honestly it didn’t hold a candle compared to E3 11 Plague. I’m pretty sure I’ll be back at work tomorrow. Ironically, this doesn’t happen at Casual Connect.
SF: I went out of my way to avoid accumulating stuff. I travel light. Like a ninja. A tiptoeing ninja.