We left Hamilton around 5am (since it's nearly a 3 hour drive to EKU) and we had all sorts of fun just talking about politics, business, philosophy, and, of course, GAMES! It was a pretty great drive, despite my ever present carsickness (I drive a Vespa, walk, bus, or cycle everywhere. Cars aren't my friend). Anyway, when we finally got there, already we could tell we were in for a good time! We met up with our friends from Gear5 (Steve works with them as well) and from there headed off to the keynote presentation!
The keynote was done by Playstation's Dan "Shoe" Hsu. Let me tell you, it was one of the best gaming industry presentations I've ever seen. Seriously. It was all about approaching press in the wake of a game release and it was killer! From there Steve and I split up. He started taking pictures and video for Gear5 and headed to a bunch of panels run by some awesome industry vets, while I spent most of my time playing the demos live on the floor, chatting with other indies, and showing off our demo of Collapsus! Both of us sampled completely different aspects of the conference, but we both learned a lot and got so much out of it!
There were so many great games on display. Since Vector is part of EKU's Gaming Institute, most of the games there were student games. It's always wonderful to see student games because while indie games themselves are known to break barriers in terms of originality and creativity, student games crank that up to 11!
Two of my personal favorite student games were an awesome combat-free horror/comedy RPG called "Balloon Party", by student Gabe Perry. It was inspired by the likes of "To the Moon", "Corpse Party", and "Earthbound". Really cool! The other, I'm sad to say I didn't meet the developer of (and thus didn't get the game's name either) was a really cool experimental game played with a red phone. Like, a real phone. You gotta love experimental games! It really had a "Stanley Parable" vibe going on, except, you know, with a phone. I really want to track down whoever made it, so if you know, drop me a line (our public e-mail will find its way to me).
As far as non-student games are concerned, I got to check out the absolutely wonderful "Pig Eat Ball" from Mommy's Best Games. It's like Ms. Pac-man with a Mario Galaxy aesthetic, on crack! It was recently Greenlit and should be out on Steam Early Access here soon. Go check it out, if you get the chance. You won't regret it.
There was also the incredibly awesome Lexitron. It's similar to the Winnitron project, of which we here at Wraith are noted longtime fans, except it's for Lexington, KY developers. It had some really slick games on it. In many ways, to me at least, the collection as a whole reminded me of WarioWare. There were some pretty trippy, experimental games on there and it was really cool to play them all! The project was facilitated by RunJumpDev, a gaming non-profit who helped bring Vector into existence. They're also doing LexPlay in October, which we hope to also attend if we can properly split the team up so we can also do OGDX!
Last, but certainly not least, we got to meet our Twitter-friend Jarryd Huntley. He's based out of Columbus, so it was even more of a drive for him than for us. He's the one who turned us on to Vector in the first place! We got to play an early version of his game "Art Club Challenge" and I've got to say, it was amazing! Basically, you're given a task and then you need to draw it using abstract art tools where it's then uploaded to the cloud. Seriously, guys. It was so freakin' cool! It's not due out for some time now, but when it is, you really need to give it a try. It's the kind of thing indie games are made to do. Hopefully, when it's out in beta, I can give it another go, because I need more of it in my life. Also, I made the world's worst bluebird, and I'm very proud of it anyway!
Stolen lovingly from the game's Twitter account: https://twitter.com/ArtClubGame
We made quite a few connections while we were there and I sure know I made a few actual friends. There are also certain other things that might come out of this experience, but I can't talk about those just yet. It was quite the trip and we really have to do it next year as well! So, if you find yourself around EKU this time next year, drop on by! You won't be disappointed!
As I've asked in the past, if there's a convention you'd like to see us at, drop us a line. We already have plans to do a few more this year and we'd love to add more to our schedule!