The busiest week of my life every year, the Game Developers Conference 2012 was no exception. Even if I wasn’t giving a full slate of talks and panels, and organizing a conference-wide game, I’d still have my schedule full of meetings, conference sessions, and late-night socializing.

Overall, I was happy with my sessions. Richard LeMarchand came out on top of the Game Design Challenge, which this year was “Upgrade Humanity in 60 Seconds or Less” – design a game to improve people’s lives that took a minute or less to play. Constance Steinkhuler, a close friend and the current White House Czar on games, was on hand to deliver the prizes. Here’s a nice writeup on Jason Rorher’s entry – a game that involved tearing US currency into pieces.

The annual Rant Session blazed forward as well, themed on game developer parents holding forth on whatever they wanted. A personal highlight for me was seeing Frank Lantz and his game designer son James rant back to back – surely the start of a game industry dynasty. My own lecture, Let the Games be Games, was a theoretical dive into game design and aesthetics. I was happy with how it came out, but you can view it on the GDC Vault for yourself and let me know what you think.

Lastly, the Metagame returned for year two of massively multiplayer debating about videogames. GDC is surely one of the perfect contexts for the game – and we had more than 3,000 players arguing about games for the week of GDC. Special thanks to our sponsors BBC, Loot Drop, Microsoft, Parsons, and IGDA who made the game happen. And a big acknowledgement to iam8bit, who sold hundreds of Metagame decks and expansion sets in their bookstore booth.

I’m a glutton for punishment, and I have already begun thinking about next year’s conference. It will be the 10th anniversary of the Game Design Challenge, and I only promise that it is going to be a very different session next year… more to come.