Try to imagine all the time you've spent playing video games. Sure they are good for hand-eye coordination and can help numb the pain of living in a violent world by desensitizing you to it, but the number of hours must reach into at least the thousands, even if you're just what some might consider to be a casual gamer. That's a huge chunk of time you could have spent bettering yourself as a person, improving your health or even making your own game so you can take the rest of humanity down with you.
This weekend's Big Design Conference at the Crowne Plaza in Addison can help you get something pixelated started. It officially kicks off on Friday and runs through the weekend and will feature a series of workshops and classes in game development for everything from tiny mobile games to giant, time-sucking MMOs that require three days off from work just to set up your character profile.
The conference schedule covers just about every aspect of game design from storyboarding and creating character personalities to more technical aspects of designs such as learning the ways of Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite and learning how to design with Windows 8 (we're sure the process involves having tech support on speed dial).
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Of course, no video game conference of any kind in the industry is complete without free games or game demos that you can play when you should be working on improving your development skills. This year's conference will feature the Killer Queen Arcade that turns classic arcade titles like Joust and Mario Bros. into team-based strategy challenges and the Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator, which is basically the Star Trek video game you always wished someone would create but never in a public forum for fear of being endlessly mocked and judged.