2017 Call for Participation

Hello once again, fellow game design explorers! The time has come to open submissions for the 2016 GDC Experimental Gameplay session! This year's submission deadline will be Sunday, January 8, 2017 at 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time. 

Just in case you are new to the process (or need a refresher) the CFP below lists what kinds of games and prototypes we're looking for. You can also check out the workshop's inspiration and philosophy, history and organizers.

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What is Experimental Gameplay?

Experimental games take interesting approaches to interactivity that haven't been tried before. Since this definition is unavoidably vague, here are some examples to clarify.

This IS Experimental Gameplay:

  • Creating unexpected play experiences or promoting unique feelings within players through mechanics (GravitationPassageThe Marraige).
  • Generative games, where the gameplay or world changes based on choices the player makes (SpelunkyflOw).
  • Emergent gameplay, where the game systems interact to provide suprising situations (ROM CHECK FAILPortal).
  • Interactive storytelling, where the plot or dialog changes in a fine-grained manner, as opposed to discrete "branching points" (Facade).
  • Innovative user interfaces - natural language processing, image recognition, gestural control, new hardware devices (Guitar HeroRENGA)
  • Novel multiplayer interactions (Journey)

This is NOT Experimental Gameplay:

  • Novel content, narrative, settings, character designs, artwork, audio or plots - unless they affect the core gameplay in a major way.
  • New hybrids of already-existing genres - unless the resulting gameplay is unexpectedly more than the sum of its parts.
  • Purely technical innovation, experimental business models or distribution mechanisms, or games for under-served audiences - unless the game itself is experimental as outlined above.

What kinds of prototypes are accepted?

Only playable prototypes are accepted.  They can be in any stage of development, so long as the experimental part of the gameplay is playable. The submission doesn't need to be fun, but the experimental idea behind it has to be interesting and clear.

This is because we favor the process of experimentation over the success of results.  We look for work that demonstrates a deep exploration, as opposed to the shallow implementation of an interesting idea. Note: More than one prototype can be submitted by the same person - and we encourage this when a body of work  reflects a series of related or ongoing experiments.

How do I submit?

To submit your experimental prototype for consideration, please fill out THIS FORM HERE. Of the 100+ submissions we get each year, we typically accept 15-20 prototypes. These are shown at our session on the Friday, March 18th (traditionally at 2pm), and speakers who can attend to demo in person will receive a free Speaker's pass to the entire GDC conference.

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If you have questions about your submission or need clarification about the process, please email us here. We look forward to hearing from you - and hope to see you at GDC!