The great Steve Meretzky sent around the following observation on this year's GDC:
As I was filing my GDC materials from this year, I was looking through some of the old GDC (or, more accurately, CGDC) materials. I was struck by how similar so many of this year's sessions were to the sessions from 15 years ago. Can you tell which of these are from 1989 or 1990, and which are from 2004? Answers follow.
1(A) Building Big Licensed Games With Big Teams 1(B) Movies and Games: Living With a License
2(A) Aristotle for Nerds 2(B) Game Narrative: What Would Aristotle Do?
3(A) Applying Artificial Intelligence 3(B) How AI Enables Designers
4(A) World-Building 101 4(B) Fantasy World-Building
5(A) Diversity in Game Development 5(B) Gender and Cultural Bias in Games
6(A) Game Versus Story 6(B) Storytelling in Games
Of course, there are some sessions that are easy to assign to an era... such as "Prototyping Your Games with Hypercard"...
Answers: 1) Building Big Licensed Games With Big Teams was a 2004 session by Don Daglow. Movies and Games: Living With a License was a 1989 panel session including Noah Falstein and Eric Goldberg. 2) Aristotle for Nerds was a 1989 session by Brenda Laurel. Game Narrative: What Would Aristotle Do? was a 2004 session by Warren Spector. 3) Applying Artificial Intelligence was a 1989 session by Dave Graves. How AI Enables Designers was a 2004 session by Brian Reynolds. 4) World-Building 101 was a 2004 session by Dan Arey and Bob Rafei. Fantasy World-Building was a 1990 panel. 5) Diversity in Game Development was a 2004 roundtable by Darrell Porcher. Gender and Cultural Bias in Games was a 1990 panel moderated by Brenda Laurel. 6) Game Versus Story was a 1989 session by Doug Sharp. Storytelling in Games was a 2004 roundtable by Bob Bates.
Score: 0 to 6 correct. You win a trip through time to the 2019 GDC... where the keynote address will be, "Can a Game Make You Cry?" More than 6 correct. You are cheating.
"Evolve", indeed. As Hal Barwood has pointed out, these are deep issues, and we're probably doomed to talk about them for a couple of more decades. (But what if we keep accumulating issues like this? The free flow of ideas at GDC will become clogged up and it will all collapse under its own weight.)