Thanks to Major Nelson, I was able to attend GDC2005 today with an Expo Pass. It's truly amazing how far video games have come since I spent my summers playing Gauntlet at Pier 39 so many years ago. I actually took the bus there in the morning, played Gauntlet all day (yes, with just one quarter), and took the bus home when the sun started to set. I especially liked to play the Elf character. I would build up so much health that I could let some clueless kid take over the controls while I went to get some lunch and/or a bathroom break and come back 20-30 minutes later without a "game over." Ah, those were the days...

   Today at GDC2005, the big announcements from Microsoft were XNA Studio and the next generation Xbox ("Xenon") and Xbox Live. More details here. I think gaming has just (in 2004) reached an important milestone where it really has become a legitimate part of the overall entertainment industry, which has long been dominated by movies and music. I probably spend as much time playing games (primarily Halo 2) on my Xbox as I do watching TV or listening to CDs. I'm very excited to see where gaming goes in the next few years, and I'm so glad to see Microsoft continuing to invest significantly in this space.