An overview and update on this year’s Experimental Game Workshop at GDC 2023
Formerly the Experimental Gameplay Workshop, EGW is a GDC tradition in its 21st year: an annual session where many developers have shown novel game ideas through prototypes and design retrospective microtalks.
Given the increasing amount of work that broadly fits the scope as "experimental" and the general difficulty in the past of defining what exactly "experimental gameplay" is and isn't, we decided it was appropriate to broaden the scope. So now, the session is just called Experimental Game Workshop, with a continuing interest in play but not a prioritizing focus on it.
We've heard feedback from industry peers about how EGW's prior focus on gameplay often emphasized specific types of experimentation over others. To some, this felt at times overly narrow and missing the bigger picture of what’s happening in different spheres of game development across the world. So we’re opening the selection criteria even further, bringing in a new and expanded set of judges + organizers, and continuing with the evolving goals of the session.
These goals are:
Showcase games with unexpected play experiences or unique feelings in interactivity.
Encourage exploration of uniquely deep and resonant experiences through play.
Grow diversity in game types, game creators, game subcultures, narrative representations, and the use of new mediums.
Responsibly steward a tradition of sharing inspiring work.
We want this session to represent a larger swath of the unique and compelling experimentation that is happening in the world of games than it sometimes has in the past. Because of this, we're aiming to turn this session into a showcase of experimentation across the whole spectrum of interactivity: not only in gameplay, but in all aspects of game development. Including accepting new non-game presentations on community and culture!
We strongly encourage designers from BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and underrepresented communities to apply. We’re also in the process of growing the EGW community and further developing connections between experimental creators.
For many, the EGW is a first chance to go to GDC and learn from other developers while also showing their work. We have a Discord server of recent EGW participants who are interested in sharing their projects and processes with each other around the conference. We’re actively looking for suggestions on how to grow and support this community at GDC, online, and beyond.
By making a submission, we will consider you a part of that community and extend an invitation to participate in it, regardless of whether your game or presentation is selected for this year’s GDC showcase. We’re excited to see what you’re working on!