• Metroid series co-creator and Other M project lead Yoshio Sakamoto kicked things off bright and early with an inspiring talk on his game philosophies and influences. Sakamoto-san is all about some Luc Besson, John Woo, and Brian De Palma (especially Carrie), and said that "making games is giving shape to images" and that developers must always consider the impact of their work on their audience. I say right on, and it's good to know that such a Nintendo bigwig is still able to keep it real.
• Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka's talk on audio design and music in games was definitely stimulating as well, especially with his demonstration showing that the brain's understanding of sound isn't dependent on actually hearing. He proved his point by playing a chopped up classical music piece that contained noticeable gaps, but still sounded normal enough in your head to properly experience. And it didn't hurt when he busted out a guitar and rocked out during the speech, either.
• Wrapping up at the Independent Games Festival and the Game Developers Choice Awards, Tiger Style's iPhone masterpiece, Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, took the top indie spot, while Uncharted 2 took pretty much everything else in the main awards categories. John Carmack of id Software, (Doom, Quake, Rage) grabbed a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award, and Valve's Gabe Newell (Half-Life 2, Portal, Left 4 Dead) snagged a Pioneer Award—riiiiiight before his laptop crashed during his acceptance speech. Planned? No. Hilarious? Yes. Oh, yes.
And there you go—be here tomorrow for Sid Meier's GDC keynote speech on his epic career and the two-decades-strong Civilization series. Holler: @marronigames