Thursday, March 26, 2009

Solid Advice: Shut Off Your Phone

Please shut off your cell phone before the show begins.”

This was the robotic message that blared through the South Hall of the Moscone Center just moments before Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo Japan, took the stage for his keynote session on developing games for an emerging market. This was just one of two big headline keynotes taking place this week during the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco.

I probably had the same dismissive reaction to this announcement as the countless others that were filing into the large hall for Iwata’s session.

“Shut off my phone?” I thought to myself. “Yeah, right.”

But midway through the keynote, I would come to regret this decision, after all the unthinkable always happens. In fact, this accident was something that I programmed to happen every day at 9:30 a.m.

It was my alarm clock. And at 9:30 a.m., it sounded off in the middle of Iwata’s session programmed with the same high pitched sound as the Codec noise used in the Metal Gear Solid games.

See, this alarm is usually important because it signals the end of my first period class. But today wasn’t one of those regular days.

And as I sat in the press section surrounded by high profile members of the gaming press - Stephen Totilo and Tracey John of MTV Multiplayer to my right, Seth Schiesel of the New York Times sitting in front of Stephen, and Brian Crecente and Mark McWhertor of Kotaku both sitting side-by-side in front of me, I reached into my pocket and silenced my cellphone, feeling very foolish the entire time.

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