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Tales from the GDC Vault: A retrospective look at game development in 1997

As part of the continuing Tales from the GDC Vault series, GDC historian Jason Scott has digitized and uploaded four notable videos from the 1997 Computer Game Developers Conference.

These videos, just like the many other classic and free lectures on the GDC Vault, provide a look back at some of the most pressing issues developers faced more than a decade ago. These archives give us a chance to both learn from our past, and even apply classic game development lessons to today's ever-changing market.

These brand-new videos, which feature renowned developers such as Brian Moriarty and Ernest Adams, join a handful of other GDC Vault free lectures from 1997. Join us now as we look back at some of the most exciting lectures and presentations from the classic Computer Game Developers Conference:

In the first of these new videos, Michael Dornbrook, whose work spans from Zork to Rock Band, shares his thoughts on maintaining relevance in "Surviving the Bloodbath: Perspectives on our Industry's Cycles." He observes the early warning signs of boom and bust cycles and strategies for surviving the busts and prospering from the booms. [GDC Vault free video]

Next up is video game musician George "The Fat Man" Alistair Sanger's "Music on Computers: A 5 Year Projection from the Project Bar-B-Q Think Tank." He presents the opinions and consensus of the BBQ Group (which still holds yearly conferences) on the topic: "What do you want to see in hardware and software for music on computers in the next 5 years?" [GDC Vault free video]

Also included is Infocom and LucasArts veteran Brian Moriarty's lecture, "Listen! The Potential of Shared Hallucinations." Here, Moriarty explores ways to creatively engage online game players and ditch "single-player designs retrofitted with a clunky multiplayer option." He encourages such games to "evolve with their audience" and "allow [players] to participate creatively" to "explore the unique possibilities of the online medium." [GDC Vault free video]

Finally, game designer Ernest Adams attempts to "reverse engineer" two great products in his lecture, "The Secret of Eternal (Product) Life: Lessons from J.R.R. Tolkien and John Madden." Among many provocative statements, Adams suggests that works of "pure imagination" spat out in one or two years have "no cultural roots... no soul" and fail to last. To make a game that lasts forever, he urges developers to "borrow, steal, rip off" or otherwise inject mythos into a product to "touch your player's soul." [GDC Vault free video]

As the group behind the leading worldwide game development conference, GDC organizers remain committed to making the event's best current and historical lectures available for free to the global game community, and will continue to release new, free content throughout 2012.

Full GDC Vault access is available to GDC All-Access Pass holders, speakers, and All-Access Pass buyers to other GDC events for the rest of 2012. (Subscribers having issues accessing content should contact GDC Vault admins.)

Individual Vault subscriptions not tied to All-Access passes are now available in a limited-edition Beta invite process -- those interested in signing up to be invited in on a first come, first served basis should visit the GDC Vault website.

In addition, game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via viewing an online demonstration.

GDC organizers are also committed to making more archival content free for all during 2012, following a successful 'GDC 25 Chronicles' digitization project. GDC historian Jason Scott has signed on for the rest of 2012 to continue digitizing the extensive Game Developers Conference archives, with his 'Tales From The GDC Vault' series.

Tales From The GDC Vault

Connecting the Global Game Development Community