Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
Postmortem - Gangs of GDC: Rumble in the Moscone Center
View All     RSS
July 28, 2021
arrowPress Releases
July 28, 2021
Games Press
View All     RSS

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Postmortem - Gangs of GDC: Rumble in the Moscone Center

April 27, 2007 Article Start Page 1 of 3 Next

If you were at this year’s GDC and noticed an occasional yelp emanating from a group of people mashing buttons on their cell-phones, clustered around a large video display, you may have wondered what all the hubbub was about. For the last six years Gamelab (the indie New York studio that we work for) has made a conference-wide game to be played during the GDC. What those people were doing was playing Gangs of GDC – this year’s installation of the Gamelab GDC game.

What the hell is Gangs of GDC?

Gangs of GDC was the world’s first (as far as we know) massively multiplayer mobile phone fighting game or MMMPFG. While the genre-name may be complicated, the game itself was actually pretty simple and straightforward. The theme was that rival gangs such as the Match Three Boyz and the MMOFOs are vying for control of the GDC by fighting over three neighborhoods scattered throughout the conference center. Each neighborhood consisted of a large flat-screen display set up in a high traffic area of the conference showing a grid of nine blocks.

Players would dial up a number displayed on the screen and be immediately placed on one of the blocks where they would either fight any rivals that were on the block or else flip the block over to their gang’s control. When fights occurred players resolved them through a simple rock-paper-scissors game where they pressed 1, 2 or 3 on their cell-phones to perform a light jab, a strong upper-cut or a devastating roundhouse respectively. Every five minutes each neighborhood would be scored and the gang that controlled the most blocks in a neighborhood would gain points for each block they controlled.

Gamelab's Bite Me, played at the 2001 GDC

Why would anyone make a MMMPFG?

At this point you may be asking yourself, why would someone make an MMMPFG? As mentioned above, for the last six years Gamelab has produced a large real-world game to be played at the GDC. In years past our games have ranged from social experiments like Bite Me to massively multiplayer board games like Leviathan. The goal of these games has always been for us to play around with different forms of gameplay, and to try to provide our fellow developers with a chance to interact with each other while diverting themselves from the whirlwind of activity that is the GDC.

Last year our GDC game was Pantheon: a game where players were divided into warring pantheons of gods. While we were happy with Pantheon and received positive feedback from players (especially about the virgin sacrifice component) we also felt that the game was a bit too complex and required a lot from players both in terms of organization and in sheer number of tokens for each player to manage. To address this we wanted make something a little bit lighter and we also wanted to experiment with using technology to help take some of the burden of managing the state of the game off of players.

Article Start Page 1 of 3 Next

Related Jobs

Mountaintop Studios
Mountaintop Studios — San Francisco, California, United States

Lead Tech Artist
Fred Rogers Productions
Fred Rogers Productions — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Digital Production Coordinator
Remedy Entertainment
Remedy Entertainment — Helsinki, Finland

UX Designer
Remedy Entertainment
Remedy Entertainment — Helsinki, Finland

Senior UI Designer

Loading Comments

loader image