This free game accurately simulates the game convention social experience

(Image credit: Crows Crows Crows)

Crows Crows Crows, the studio founded by Stanley Parable co-creator William Pugh, has a replacement for the social aspects of the 2020 Game Developers Conference, which was going to take place in San Francisco this week before being postponed due to the global coronavirus health emergency

Pugh and company's substitute GDC is a "massively multiplayer online browser-based networking and conference experience with light roguelike elements," as they put it, and you can play it here

It's called CDC—Crows Developers Conference—and gives players the opportunity to explore San Francisco's "Moscrowne" Center (a play on the Moscone Center) while communicating with other attendees by way of dry coughs that translate to convention small talk. Included are classic GDC phrases such as:

  • "Does anybody know the wifi password?"
  • "You probably don't remember me." 
  • "Are you going to the party later?"
  • "I'm already tired."
  • "How's your CDC going so far?"

Very realistic. And if you explore the convention, you can sip $13 coffees and observe a street clogged with "a perfect 3:1 Uber-Lyft ratio"—also accurate.

(Image credit: Crows Crows Crows)

Meanwhile, the actual Game Developers Conference is still happening, kind of: In lieu of the physical event, virtual talks are being streamed on the GDC Twitch channel this week, which is pretty cool. You can find the full schedule here

Starting tomorrow, the San Francisco Bay Area will be under a shelter in place order. It isn't a full lock down—residents can still go out for groceries, to health care appointments, and so on, and home delivery services will still operate—but "non-essential" gatherings and travel are temporarily prohibited. In other words, GDC's organizers were right to announce its postponement at the end of February, as it would obviously not have been allowed to run this week.

If you're in the Bay Area, more information on the shelter in place order can be found here. For general information on the Covid-19 coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control for updates in North America, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, or the World Health Organization.

If you play CDC to get some virtual socializing in, I recommend opening the menu and switching to 4K mode, as well as checking out talks "The Problem with Gamers Today" and "Let's Get Pissy."

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.