IGDA Montreal’s 10 years celebration

What better way to feel old than to go at the 10th anniversary of your local professional association when you were there at the very first meeting.

Now, I knew it would be a retrospective on the history of the chapter, and yes, I remembered that I was there when it all started. I didn’t expect it would make me feel so old. It didn’t help when François-Dominic Laramée opened the panel discussion by saying that he left the gaming industry because he’s too old.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the start. I hadn’t been to a Montreal chapter meeting since before I left for Québec, so, make that about 3 years. I wasn’t sure there would even be anyone I knew there, I mean, most people I used to see at IGDA were older, just like me, and I doubted they would really feel the need to network. So I headed there with my neighbor Julie, who just graduated in event planning and is looking at at career in the game industry.

It was at Autodesk, that was far. I hope everyone at Autodesk has access to a car in the winter.  But, wow, I don’t know many company lobbies where you could fit a few hundred people, with a bar, chairs, space for the panel and still have room to move around. There was a slideshow on the giant screen with pictures of past events. Of course there were at least 2 pics of me looking blurry and retarded. Yay.

Jason and Isabelle (how cool to have your own Wikipedia page Jason, Isabelle, get something up, I couldn’t find a site for you!) started with a retrospective of past events. From the first in 2001 that consisted of drinking at the arcade of Cinema Quartier, to the first lectures (in one of the Cinema’s projection rooms) to the Gesù and the SAT with international guests. I was surprised to see how few of these events I had missed. I even helped moderate a round table a few years ago. (I blogged about that here.)

After that there was a panel with 5 guys who have been involved in the industry since the start of the IGDA. Here’s the list (I totally stole that from the IGDA e-mail):

  • Sebastien Ebacher – Producer, Ubisoft
  • Denis Lacasse – Studio Head, Behaviour Interactive
  • Francois Dominic Laramee – freelance science and technology reporter
  • Martin Lizee – Owner, Gamerizon
  • Reid Schnieder – VP & Executive Producer, WB Games

Two of them once taught or lectured for my class at NAD Center (Martin Lizée and François-Dominic.) Jason started out with a bunch of questions he had prepared and then took questions from the crowd. There was a lot of telling tales of hardship and mapping the progress of the industry and how Montreal came to be on the map with some of the biggest studios in the world and going from being an industry no one understood to one of the prides of the city. I didn’t exactly learn a lot of new stuff but it was fun to reminisce and to hear other points of views, especially since most of the panelists were already experienced when I started out in the industry.

As I thought, there weren’t that many people I knew other than those involved in the IGDA organization.  Maybe others like me are just old and jaded.

Sebastien Ebacher - Producer, Ubisoft
   * Denis Lacasse - Studio Head, Behaviour Interactive
   * Francois Dominic Laramee - freelance science and technology reporter
   * Martin Lizee - Owner, Gamerizon
   * Reid Schnieder - VP & Executive Producer, WB Games
   * Moderator: Jason Della Rocca - Senior Consultant, Perimeter Partners

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