Mobile Games Roundtable at GDC

This week at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco has been a whirlwind. I’ve collected about 100 business cards and gave out even more. I’ve met amazing fellow students studying to get into the game industry, as well as industry professionals who hopefully can aid me in my journey. It was great to meet up with Champlain Alumni at two of my top companies. Even if I do not get a job immediately even with their help, all the connections I’ve made are still extremely worthwhile as you never know who will turn out to be a great friend, co-worker, or both in the future!

I think my favorite talk at GDC was the roundtable discussion I attended about making mobile games for kids. Although Kanji Samurai’s target audience isn’t children specifically, children 8 and up are part of our demographic and ensuring our game is easy enough for kids to learn Japanese basically guarantees adults should have an easy time learning as well. This session was very enlightening and it was exhilarating to speak in front of professionals in the game industry. The woman leading the discussion, Carla Fisher, asked us to generate 10 topics to discuss. I was the third person she called on! My voice shook slightly as I introduced myself and explained Kanji Samurai’s premise. I said I would like to discuss language learning games so we can improve our own. Like most people I’ve encountered at the conference, the fifty or more people in the room smiled at me and seemed genuinely interested in my game and our mission to teach Japanese!

I got some great resources that I have to look into about other language learning games, and after the discussion several people stuck around to play Kanji Samurai! I got some extremely useful feedback that I am going to organize tonight or tomorrow so I’ll be ready to share it with my team on Wednesday. I’ve got to prioritize it since we may not have time to address all of it. I think the most important feedback we received is we need to convey where the player went wrong when they make errors in the Kanji. We also have to add directional arrows because players had a lot of trouble with the square that is present in a few of the Kanji.                                                                             
Overall, GDC was an amazing experience and to anyone reading this and hoping to break into the games industry, all I can say is GO. It’s a great opportunity to learn a ton about game development and make connections with real professionals in the game industry as well as fellow students who I may work with in the future.

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