Industry pioneer, and former EA chief creative officer Bing Gordon is like some mad melding of Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski and Gordon Gecko, oddly zen-like but also supremely sharp-minded and fiercely savvy in the ways of business and enterprise. He also happens to be responsible for overseeing some of the most influential franchises in gaming history, from SimCity and The Sims to Madden and EA Sports and beyond.
For his DICE 2011 presentation, Gordon took attendees on a circuitous and fragmented journey through his creative life by juxtaposing screenshots from various games that represented particularly meaningful moments in Gordon’s life, not because of the game mechanics or design elements on display, but because of the friends and family members that those specific game moment bring to mind.
The key anecdote, which inspired the presentation’s “From Moore’s Law to Mother-in-Law” title, told the story of Gordon and his brother, Pete, walking in on his mother-in-law playing the Tetris-ish Sega title Columns. Later that day, she forced Pete to turn off Night Trap so she could watch TV, but the seed had been sowed. “Don’t chase Moore’s Law; chase mothers-in-law. Chase relationships.”
Games have tremendous potential to create honest human connections and “legendary relationships,” and this idea is what should be driving development and design philosophies, not being solely driven by technological advancements (i.e. Moore’s Law stating that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every two years).
To demonstrate this idea, Gordon told a story about meeting a particularly valuable World of Warcraft teammate at a convention. When the guy introduced himself as Jason, Gordon kind of brushed him off, but the moment the guy reintroduced himself as “Pint,” his WoW name, Gordon lit up and yelled for his fellow EA colleagues to come over to meet one of their dearest “virtual” friends, and their reaction was exactly the same as Gordon’s. This scene once again reiterated to Gordon that the “stickiest game mechanic is people.”
Gordon’s presentation really has to be seen to be appreciated, because it was much more of a visual journey than anything else, so definitely check back soon to see the video.