It has been one heck of a year for events! Expos, conventions, conferences... you name it! Over the course of this year we've been to 13 events. Wow! We've been in Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus, Lexington, Louisville, Indianapolis and more! It's been pretty amazing to say the least. Now, for those of you how follow our main blog on our website regularly, you've probably heard about these in detail, but for those of you how only see us here in DBland, let's go over these for you!
Now, two of these 13 events were strictly business related (the CinciFuse business conference and the SELF/SBDC Microenterprise graduation) so we won't be covering those. What we will be covering, however are the 11 events where we showed off our game(s) to people! We were supposed to go to 2 other non-gaming events (both university job fairs fro different schools) but we didn't, so those don't count either.
Let's get's get started with Vector Conference! Vector was in May at the Eastern Kentucky University's Gaming Institute and boy was it awesome! There was a mix of great industry talks, student demos, and non-student demos. For this one, it was me and Steve. We split up and he hit the talks and I hit the demos (both playing and showing off ours). It was great for both learning and networking (heck, all of these were amazing for both!) While the event itself was actually pretty small, it was really big for us looking back. We ended up forging really strong friendships with several of the EKU students (including Mark Cahalan who would later take over programming for Collapsus) and several more non-student friends (even got to meet a pre-existing Twitter friends in person), met with RunJumpDev (whom we would later join), found out about LexPlay (which we later attended), and were told about the Kentucky Fried Pixels bundle (which would lead to the creation of our other game, Radarkanoid)! Yeah, pretty big for us, huh!
But yeah. They’re already confirmed that they’re doing it again next year and you can bet that we’ll be some of the first to grab tickets!
After that was Game Masters - The Exhibition in June! OH MAN! Was this one a big deal! See, Game Masters is an internationally traveling exhibit featuring retro games, modern games, and indies. Some very important games were featured here and WE were invited to showcase! After becoming Nintendo Developers and getting our physical studio space, this is probably the most important thing to happen to Wraith so far! It was such an honor.
They actually gave us own own weekend all to ourselves to demo amongst the gaming greats! It was a very powerful moment for us. Oh, who was “us” on this trip? That was Natalie, Adam, and myself, of course! Believe it or not, they actually liked us so much that they brought us back the next week for our next event!
So… that next event. That was COSI After Dark! With Game Masters going so well, they asked us if we could come back a few days later, since they had an after hours, 21+ event where they wanted us and some of the other Game Masters (and OGDE, oddly enough) devs to show things off. Unfortunately Nat and Adam couldn’t make it, but Kristy and I could! We were all over that! Man, it was a good time!
Next on the list was Indy PopCon in July, which was technically our biggest convention to date! It was a massive convention center with tons of celebrities, artists, vendors and games… and you know what? I wasn’t actually there! Many of us weren’t, sadly! Adam, Eric, and Mark hit this one hile Thorne, Kristy, Lance, and I were at Origins Game Fair in Columbus for non-Wraith things (boy we’re in Columbus a lot). This was the first event of our where I wasn’t in attendance, and they did awesomely!
This was also the first event where the new Gravity Rush feature of Collapsus was showcased and man, everyone loved it! On top of that, friends we’d made from OGDE and COSI After Dark the year before and Twitter were there, so it was all a great time!
Following that was something a bit different in August. Remember the game we’d made for Kentucky Fried Pixels? Radarkanoid… yeah, that’s the one. Well, we’d actually turned it into a physical arcade machine as well as being part of the KFP game jam and charity bundle. That arcade cabinet ended up being part of the Fitton Center for the Creative Arts’ Hindsight exhibit! It was there for a couple months, but they had this big launch party where TONS of people got to play it all at once. It was pretty sweet!
Later September took me (yes, just me this time) to Louisville for the Idea Festival. It was this really awesome educational expo where tons of people came to learn about science, games, and the science of games. There were lots of students there and man did we draw a crowd! RunJumpDev was also there, but at the completely opposite side of the hall, so we never even saw each other! This event was just fun!
Late October saw Natalie, Adam and I head up to Dayton for “The Ohio Gaming Brigade's "Dayton Designed: Game Night at Star City Brewing Company" (wow, what a mouthful)! It was a pretty neat little event! Weirdly enough, we were the only video game developers there! There were all sorts of amazing board games, card games and tabletop games surrounding us; all of them independently made. We ended up making tons of friends there, too (well, that’s normal, but seriously, these people were awesome)!
The brewery itself was top notch as well! It was all decked out like some sort of medieval pub. It even had really cool medieval iron works for the doors. Now, while we didn't imbibe anything of the alcoholic variety while we were there (we were on the clock), they did have amazing butterbeer (yes, like from Harry Potter) and dark chocolate-covered espresso beans!
So, the next event was LexPlay in October! This is LexPlay's first year and was run by the awesome people from RunJumpDev. For their first year, they really blew it out of the water! This was a great event! Like all new events, the turnout wasn't huge; but the people who were there were so awesome! While we were there, we played so many awesome games, including a version of X-Men vs. Street Fighter that used what were basically DDR pads combined with fighting sticks, a really awesome deck-building card game, and even a hip-hop RPG. There was some real talent here. This is also where I was interviewed by the dudes from Game Over, Game On!
Just like with Vector, we were joined by some of our friends from EKU (they were in the booth next to us). We got to play more polished versions of the games they were working on for Vector (and generally just pal around with them). Unfortunately, one of our programmers, Mark, who is an EKU grad student, couldn't make it, but Nat and I had a wonderful time…. But wait. Wasn’t there another event on the same weekend as LexPlay?
Surprise! That very same weekend was the return of OGDE (now called GDEX) in Columbus! We couldn’t miss that, could we? Well, we didn’t! While Natalie and I were at LexPlay, Kristy and Adam hit up GDEX! How awesome is that?! Eric was supposed to join them, but sadly he was sick, but other than that, it went really well.
Well, that’s actually an understatement. As you may have seen in our last post, CLE Tech called us one of their “Top Picks” for the event and all of our amazing Columbus gamedev friends were there as well. So, it was really cool! The problem with not being there personally (and with all of the events we do in Columbus) there’s nothing really new to say. It’s really just the event we look forward to doing the most every year! Simple as that!
The next event for October was right here in our own hometown! One block away from our studio, actually. Literally in the same building where some of us live. See, if I haven't mentioned it before, I live in Artspace Hamilton Lofts, which is a live/work environment for artists, complete with its own gallery. Now, we don't actually use that as the Wraith Games studio since we have studio space at the Hamilton Mill; we do often participate in Artspace events. This event was called Alive After 5, and wasn't just for Artspace. The first Thursday of every month, the entire downtown area opens up to the public for cool activities centered around a theme. This month's theme was: Game Night! Artspace thought it was appropriate if we demoed for this one, for obvious reasons. We even got to roll out the Radarkanoid cabinet!
October brought us Pandoracon, the last event for the year… but oh, wow, was it certainly not least! We went to Pandoracon in 2013 (well, actually, it was just me for that one) and I basically just have a talk, walked around seeing what they had to offer, and left. Pretty uneventful. 2016, though? Well, this year we were brought back as SPONSORS! Not only did we run our normal booth, but we also ran a full retro game room (complete with tournaments) called the “Wraith Games Retro Game Cave”, I gave 3 talks (one on VR, one on making a game studio… which was a sequel to the talk I gave in 2013, and one on games accessibility). We had our Radarkanoid cabinet and a live VR demo there too!
Unlike in 2013, it wasn’t just me running this one, oh no! Natalie, Adam, Kristy, Thorne, Cody and Lance were all there! We wanted “all hands on deck”, but sadly Steve, Camille, Eric, Mark, and Rachel couldn’t make it. Luckily Lance’s wife Amber, my mom, and one of our friends stepped up to help fill the gaps… This event was insane!
Now, to be honest, not everything went perfectly (and a lot of that was my fault) but man do I have a great team who were able to make up for it! They were so good, that no one at the event actually noticed any problems! This event was a sign that we can really run much larger shows in the future!
So, that was our 2016, well, for events anyway! We already have some great plans for next year (especially with Collapsus releasing here soon). If you want us to come to an event near you, please let us know! We’ll try our darnedest to make it happen!