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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When Videogames Stink: Game Developers' S.F. Conference Promo Inadvertently Echoes Stereotype Regarding Programmers' Lack of Hygiene

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 5:30 AM

It's game over for whomever chose the 'So close you can smell it' line...
  • It's game over for whomever chose the 'So close you can smell it' line...

Making videogames is not nearly so easy as Super Mario Brothers World 1-1. Programmers and developers are renowned for subsisting on pizza delivery and Mountain Dew for weeks on end during marathon sessions held with project deadlines looming. And, finally -- how to say this -- look, programmers have a reputation for incredibly poor hygiene largely due to pounding on keyboards for days on end.

So, it was with great surprise that the 2009 Game Developers Conference -- held right here in San Francisco running from yesterday to Friday -- was pitched on its Web site with the catchphrase "So close you can smell it."

You think it was a good idea to juxtapose the mental imagery of thousands of programmers jostling about in Moscone Center with this catchphrase?

Now, this isn't meant to be a slight on programmers -- a convention of marathon runners, jackhammer operators, or sanitation workers would also be ill-advised to advertise to would-be attendants that they'll be getting a whiff of the guests.

But programmers have a special place in my heart -- going back to the undergraduate days, when yours truly stumbled into what could only be described as a "wall of stench" in U.C. Berkeley's Soda Hall as EECS (electrical engineering and computer science) majors desperately programmed for 72 uninterrupted hours prior to finals.

Hey, readers: Can anyone confirm the rumors that Soda Hall actually had showers in its lower levels? Because the place did look like a giant tiled bathroom, you know...  

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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