Do you want to know what the best part of a GDC party is?
You are not there.
If you were there then you’d just be standing around, talking to the three or four people you might know. You’d be getting drunk because you don’t have much else to do. And you’d be trying to figure out how many of those free meatballs you should before you leave. Eat too many, and the next party might have something better and you’ll feel bad that you filled up on meatballs. Don’t eat enough and you’ll be sucking limes out of your gin and tonic because that party has nothing at all to eat.
But it doesn’t matter. Once the parties are over, once the hangover clears, you’ll have been at that party. It won’t matter that you probably could have done something useful with last night. Because you did do something useful. You got invited to a party. And that means someone cares. It’s like there is a God and he really wants you to be happy. So, he made a party for you.
The problem is, he made this party for a whole bunch of people. And they are all bumping into you and getting in your way when you need a drink. These other people are clearly more important than you. They know people. They get to go past the rope at the PlayStation 3 event and play in a special area, for special people. You have to stand around with all the other people. It’s like being a seat filler at the Oscars. You’re just decoration. And then you start to worry that they will find out and replace you. Surely, there is some one better at filling up space than you. And that’s when you figure you should have drunk that glass of wine they offered you at 3:30 in the afternoon when you got to the event. Your nerves are shot. You at least need to pretend like you belong.
If you’ve been doing this for a while, you learn some survival techniques, though. You pull out your notebook and jot down a few things. Notes. Story ideas. Anything. Just look busy. Look like you care. Pretend you are at the party for a reason.
Eventually though, you just become a student of the parties themselves. There’s a science to parties and a culture of parties. And since you really don’t want to go to bed, you start thinking about the nature of parties. Sad! But true.
At least you weren’t there. You can imagine that it was actually fun.