Lost Levels is an attempt to make a videogame conference with as few restrictions as possible. It was formed in response to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, which is one of the world’s biggest conventions for developers. GDC is a for-profit venture and is put on by a publicly traded company whose concern is not just with videogames, but also its shareholders. Lost Levels is beholden to no one except its participants and has the freedom to be whatever they might want.
Lost Levels is “hyper-inclusive,” meaning anyone can give a talk about anything. Attendees take the invitation literally. On the second to last day of the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, a collection of developers, journalists and randoms descend on a nearby park to share insights on everything from goats to Jeff Goldblum.
“We are fostering a new sense of community,” Lee says. “Lost Levels was born out of a background of frustration, but centrally, celebration — celebration of diversity and things that weren’t being recognized.”
Such a diverse and seemingly unrelated group of talks is unusual. But after all, Lee says, “everything is interesting.”
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I stumbled on the Lost Levels gathering at GDC. It was pretty active and fun. I thought it could use a little more facilitation though.
It could also benefit from some device based gaming as well. Imagine people moving around with Xbee/Bluetooth gadgets or phone apps playing a board game across Yerba Buena park?