experimental games

The Experimental Gameplay Workshop has become a staple of creativity at the Game Developers Conference. It will return this year at the GDC in San Francisco for the 11th year on March 29. The workshop will be hosted by Robin Hunicke (a co-creator of Journey and co-founder of game studio Funomena), Richard Lemarchand, former Naughty Dog game designer and co-creator of the Uncharted series, and Daniel Benmergui (Storyteller).

They will showcase prototypes of innovative games in a fast-paced session aimed at inspiring game developers to experiment. The session’s web site says that experimental game play highlights “creating unexpected play experiences promoting unique feelings within players through mechanics.” It involves “generative games, where the gameplay or world changes based on the choices the player makes.” It features “emergent gameplay, where the game systems interact to provide surprising situations. It can also involve interactive storytelling, innovative user interfaces such as gesture control, and novel multiplayer interactions.

But experimental gameplay does not involve novel content or stories, hybrids of existing genres, or purely technical innovation.

Some of the returning presenters include Jason Rohrer (known for Passage), Emily Short (known for Galatea), Henry Smith (known for SpaceTeam), Eric Zimmerman (known for Diner Dash), Brenda Romero (known for Wizardry), Keita Takahashi (known for Katamari Damacy), and others.

Last year’s session (pictured above) included:┬áMars Jokela (Self Aware Games), Kurt Bieg (Simple Machine), Bennett Foddy (foddy.net), John Sear (WallFour), Nicolo Tedeschi (Santa Ragione), Ramsey Nasser (Pizza Party), Robin Hunicke (thatgamecompany), Daniel Benmergui (Independent), Steve Swink (Enemy Airship), Jenova Chen (thatgamecompany), Douglas Wilson (Die Gute Fabrik), Pietro Righi Riva (Santa Ragione), Nicholas Clark (thatgamecompany), Rami Ismail (Vlambeer), Mathias Nordvall (Linkoping University), Robin Arnott (WRAUGHK), Alex Kerfoot (RPM Collective), and Anna Anthropy (Auntie Pixelante).

[Photo credit: Sklathill]