Dr Lau was an invited speaker at The San Francisco Game Developer Conference 2019. While waiting in the line marked for speakers, she was asked several times by GDC workers if she was a speaker.
Since Dr. Lau observed that none of the white male speakers in the line were asked if they were speakers, she launched a hashtag that went viral.
So if you’re at #GDC19 and feel comfortable doing so, take a picture of yourself and share it with the hashtag below. The face of the industry is changing, so let’s make sure that people both within and and outside of games see that.
— JC Lau 🦖 @ GDC!! (@drjclau) March 19, 2019
On my way to give a keynote / start a fight at #include2019
— The Unworthy Des (@Kid_Desimo) March 21, 2019
Hey friends. I'm sick and also not at GDC but this is #WhatAGameDevLooksLike
Especially when shipping dat game. pic.twitter.com/KKXZtaFR9S
— 🔪Nightmare on Anne St. 🗡 (@kremlindusk) March 20, 2019
— ⚡️ Marina Díez @ GDC ⚡️ (@Ninfa_dp) March 20, 2019
— Akemi Not at GDC (@NinjaPenguinAM) March 20, 2019
— JC Lau 🦖 @ GDC!! (@drjclau) March 21, 2019
— Antonela Pounder 🔜 EGX Rezzed (@AnimatedAnt) March 21, 2019
The good news is that GDC did reach out and apologize to Dr. Lau for what happened.
The truth is that game developers have always been a diverse group. It’s just that there are certain people who feel like they have to take stupid actions to make themselves feel superior to others. Stupid? Yes.
The Game Developers Conference must take action to make sure this does not happen again.
Oh, and what was Dr. Lau to talk about as a GDC Speaker? Inclusion in gaming.
The important message here is to never question someone’s importance. We are all somebody today.
I Too Am What A Game Developer Looks Like
I created the Oakland Baseball Simworld, and even though its dormant, you can learn about it at my Sports Business Simulations website. Moreover, the sim came after I learned (self-taught) HTML and something called Forio Macro Language (FML) from scratch.
I was quite proud of the game I built in 2000 and the company I built in 2003, but ran into a difference of opinion and direction that really came out of a matter of style: Forio was interesting in developing a technical consultancy and not a viral educational game; I believed the Oakland Baseball Simworld could be (and was on its way to becoming) a viral educational game that SBS would be built around.
That was actually minor until 2007, and a common trip to Forio. They were in an office that was primarily rented by a web-making firm called Adaptive Path (since acquired by Capital One and pivoted toward events) which had a mockup of a new CNN website sitting right in the path where anyone could see it or vlog it – there was no sign or anything saying “don’t photograph this.”
Anyway, I was just removed from an appearance on CNN in New York about YouTube and saw the website mockup, and as I am prone to vlog about what I see, did so, as I thought it was shareable new. Well, after a few days after the upload of my vlog, one of the folks from Adaptive Path contacted me in a hostile way and asked if I would take down the vlog. I did, but Dan from Adaptive Path didn’t stop there.
Dan from Adaptive Path apparently gave the Forio folks a hard time about it (and failed to admit it was really his fault). So, even though the principle of Forio had earlier told me they planned to move to a new office anyway, after the Adaptive Path encounter, blamed that they were moving on me.
That was completely BS, but the point is that ruined my relationship with Forio. It caused the argument we had over server costs because I was under the impression my $4,500 annual payment would be reduced (and Forio would not allow me to pay the cost as monthly rent, which was weird to this day). Our talks degenerated into threats of lawsuits via email. It was unfortunate – but as they say, today, it is what it is.
The lesson for me was something written up in Richard MacManus’ now defunct Read Write Web under “Failures In The Startup World“: to never make your own game in someone else’s server with their esoteric programming language.
FML started off as an elegant language, but it was altered frequently, and the makers were really poor at informing me with updates in it. Sadly, we were friends then, but not since 2010.
Truth: Gaming And Game Developers Have Always Been A Diverse Group
So, my point here is that there’s always more to a World than you think or know. The truth about any aspect of life is that people of various backgrounds make up the story – its seldom one type or race or sex. What happens is that racial bias and lack of resources take over and the person of color who was involved (in game development for example) generally finds that their story was erased from view. That’s a key reason why I started my own media company, Zennie62Media: to make sure my story was told, my way. That’s something I do for clients, today.
And I prefer to think of my great GDC memories, like this interview I did with the legendary Don Daglow, who created the first Star Trek Game:
Oakland News Now Note: this post demonstrates the full and live operation of the latest version of an experimental Zennie62Media mobile media video-blogging system network – part of a new approach to the production of media. The uploaded video is from a vlogger with the Zennie62 on YouTube Partner Channel, then uploaded to and formatted automatically at the Oakland News Now site and social media pages. The objective is real-time on the scene reporting of news, interviews, observations, and happenings anywhere in the World and within seconds and not hours. We are constantly working to improve the system network coding and also seek interested content and media technology partners.