Google’s highly anticipated GDC event was today – if you haven’t seen it yet, we highly recommend you watch the entire thing below. But for those who have, you’ll know that Google unveiled their latest project. Stadia is a game streaming service that connects to nearly any phone, tablet, or television through Chrome or Chromecast.
The keynote was detailed enough, even if Google decided to save the pricing and other details for another date. But specifics aside, the Google GDC keynote had a bunch of cool, off-topic moments scattered throughout. The folks at Google did a great job interspersing their superficial information with small anecdotes and visual flares here and there, all with relatively few mistakes. We picked out a few of these fun moments to compile into one list.
The icons at the beginning of the stream
In the moments leading up to the event, people were speculating over the motion graphics Google used before the stream went live. Sets of five icons were shown in a row, resembling key items and landmarks from famous video games. One of them seemed to point towards a zombie shooter like Left 4 Dead:
Another set looked like it might be hinting at Red Dead Redemption.
Yet another had a military shooter theme, perhaps for Call of Duty.
Finally, here’s one that’s centred around NHL, of all things:
As it turns out, these were nothing but stylish references. None of them actually ended up on the keynote. Who knows, though; we might see them when Google gives more details towards the end of summer.
Google CEO’s disrespect for baseball
Right off the bat, Google CEO Sundar Pichai made it clear he isn’t the biggest fan of video games. “I do play Fifa 19 quite a bit,” he admitted, “And I really enjoy how immersive it is.” (?)
He also says he enjoys Ashes Cricket a lot, before making an important clarification. “For those of you who are wondering what cricket is – it’s kind of like baseball, but better.” Well, that’s it. The word has been spoken: baseball is crap, and cricket reigns supreme. Rest in peace, MLB fans.
Pichai brilliantly noted that Google practically already owns the video game industry; all they needed was a single game! “It’s the Dino-Chrome game, mostly played when there’s no internet connection.”
Once again, Pichai makes his point unequivocally clear. We should already recognize that the Dino-Chrome game is the single greatest human achievement – What more could we possibly expect from Google? Absolutely nothing. Streaming, integration with YouTube, a new game studio – all of that is just icing on top of the cake. We have Dino-Chrome to live off of.
After Phil Harrison showed off the Stadia controller, the presentation briefly zoomed in on a rotating digital mock-up of the gamepad. Harrison mentioned the controller’s built-in microphone, revealing a headphone jack and mic hole on the underside. But what’s that upside down thing underneath the audio ports? Lo and behold, covering up the battery compartment is a visual representation of the Konami code.
For the youngsters out there, the Konami code (“Up up down down left right left right B A Start”) unlocked famous cheat modes on Konami-made games back on the NES. The most famous example was Contra, which gave you thirty lives if you used the Konami Code on the start screen. It’s become famous over the years, thanks to other Konami games and references from cartoons like The Simpsons. Google’s inclusion of the code was a neat touch!
MatPat coming on stage
Well-known semi-celebrity Matthew Patrick (MatPat) from The Game Theorists channel hopped on stage to talk about Stadia’s integration with YouTube. MatPat has visited a number of influential figures over the past years, including soon-retired Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime and Pope Francis (no joke). He rose from making crappy videos about Zelda theories to presenting at a Google conference; that’s quite the character arc.
Dylan Cuthbert subtly announcing Q-Games’ next project
You might have seen Dylan Cuthbert wander out on stage and talk about his studio, Q-Games. You might also have wondered “What’s Q-Games?” We’re glad you asked – Q-Games is an independent developer that has worked closely with Nintendo to make a few Star Fox games in the past. Cuthbert himself was a huge part of the development process for Star Fox 2, which was cancelled for a long time and later released on the SNES Classic.
Cuthbert’s role in the keynote was to discuss a function of Stadia called State Share, where players can take exact instances of a game file and share it with a friend, or through YouTube. Think of it like loading a save file on another computer. More interestingly, Cuthbert said that Q-Games is making a game specifically with this feature in mind, kind of as a proof of concept. “Right now, it’s still under wraps, but I can’t wait to reveal more about this game later this year.” Knowing Cuthbert’s legacy, we don’t have any doubts about whatever project he and his team are creating.
Jade Raymond’s role at Google
A few weeks ago, long-time EA and Ubisoft producer Jade Raymond announced that Google had hired her as a vice president. Her responsibilities within the company were unclear at the time, but today’s keynote made clear that she is now the executive producer of Stadia Games and Entertainment, Google’s brand new game development studio.
We said earlier there weren’t too many hiccups throughout the keynote; that doesn’t mean it was entirely flawless. Twice, the keynote live stream glitched for YouTube viewers; you can see the small error starting at 32:56 in the video. One YouTube commenter saw the glitch and commented “my thoughts on what streaming games are going to look like.” Here’s hoping that won’t be the case!
Those were the highlights we noticed from Stadia keynote. Did we miss anything? Please let us know! For everything on Google, Stadia, and everything else video games, stay tuned to Culture of Gaming.