Gamescom 2013

Robin speaking. I’ve been back in Sweden one week now since my visit at Gamescom. And what a visit it was. The first impression I had was: “This is huge”. That was the first day of trade visitors and press only, which meant I had an even bigger surprise to look forward to when the doors swung open for the public.

I stayed at a youth hostel, which was okey. Good quality for the price, but nothing fancy really. I slept for a while directly after I had checked in. The travel had taken the better part of me, seated (i.e., no bed) for 13 hours with five “friends” in a small compartment is nothing I’d recommend for anyone. Nothing much happened this day, so let’s skip it and jump to tomorrow!

The Indie Game Summit day of GDC was nice, with a small area of exhibitors and some nice lectures. Most of my time here was spent on trying to find people to talk with. Ended up in having a ticket to the Microsoft Windows party, a totally anonymous business card from Steam (only URLs on it) and an impression that I should buy Sorcery! when I got back home. I also bumped into Julie who told me about game fund. Some free cash is never wrong, especially when facing rough times in a cold Sweden as a indie game developer. Then went to a SEGA hosted pitch-event I wasn’t allowed to pitch at. Did so anyway and got in touch with some SEGA people (who wasn’t there to be pitched for).

The Windows party was kind of cool, with a cool (open) bar and a DJ playing yesterdays hits in a wild mix. I met a few people, had a good time and spoke a little with Dajana of KnapNok. Should totally play Spin the Bottle for Wii U, I did last weekend and had a blast! Got some recommendations to talk to some people at Gamescom, which is always good, but the general impression of the evening was more or less ruined by the fact that Microsoft had hired a bunch of women to hang out with the game developers. Made the beer more bitter than it really was.

Next day was the first day of Gamescom. The whole event is kind of a blur in my mind, and I can’t say what I did at which days but it was basically a three step plan:

  1. Book more meetings.
  2. Attend meetings.
  3. Meet cool people.

Before Gamescom I had four meetings planned with companies at the sight. A very low number, but as it was my first Gamescom I didn’t really know how to prepare nor what to expect. On my quest to find more people to talk business to I noticed how many companies had guards and doorkeepers at their booths. Even so I managed to get about 18 meetings in total (not all of the real meetings can count as meetings, and not all of the networking can count as mere networking, so 18 is the number I’ll stick with). And that is just step two of the plan. Can’t really appreciate how many cool people I met, but I spend quite a lot of time at the Devolver booth, talking to Dennis and some of the Devolvers and SEGAs crew.

By a whim I ended up (for free) at the Nordic Party, taking place at Sky Beach, an artificial beach placed on top of a parking house. They had barbecue and free beers, and I met up with Patrik from Corncrow. This party was classy enough to skip the prostitution.

Except talking to people and actually getting things done, I wanted to try some of the games that was hosted at the exhibition. With my trade visitor pass i sneaked in early and tried PS4 and Elder Scrolls Online. PS4 was a delight, and my fear of the changed controller was all but necessary; the controller was perfect. I tried Hohokum, Octodad and Drive club. Had a blast with all of them, but most impressed with Hohokum. Elder Scrolls Online was more of a disappointment. First of all, I am a huge Elder Scrolls fan, and Morrowind is my favorite game of all time. It took me more then 10 years to complete it, and I can still return to it’s wonders. So, the MMO version was disappointing because:

  1. It was to combat focused. Nothing I didn’t expect, and I guess that it’s okay as it is an MMO (easy way to keep players interested).
  2. The combat was boring and easy. I walked up to a polar bear and engaged a (in my mind) fearsome battle. The cool real time combat of dodging and blocking felt nice. Until I noticed that I could just press the left mouse button (swing my sword) until the polar bear was defeated and I lived. Action based combat is only fun if it actually requires you to react with your actions.

So with a ton of impressions, business cards and a head ache I once again boarded a train for the ride home. This time with a bed instead of a seat which was much appreciated. It was a good time, it was good for business, now we’ll wait and let the future tell us what’s next.

Thank you to everyone who made my Gamescom!

Until next time!

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