WASD was the biggest show we've exhibited at to date and as such, we thought it only right to get the input of the team members who attended for a blog post... which has taken a lot longer than we expected! But here it is at last - the thoughts of our three intrepid crewmates in their bid to conquer London...
WASD was always going to be a different kind of show - would our grassroots game studio stack up? It certainly felt a bit fake-it-till-you-make-it as we dragged the wheelie suitcase containing all our gear across the cobbles of Tobacco Dock with one hand and a trolley of stickers and chocolate coins in the other.
The first couple of days were weekdays, so visitors tended to be other people from the games industry, who were largely very complimentary, praising the game's striking and colourful art style and easy playability. These were valuable contacts for us to make - with Bullion launching later in the year, this was as much about seeking publisher and promoter opportunities as it was growing our audience. Many a conversation, and many a bottle of grog, were had over the event to this end.
But we did have players - and the usual pattern of play emerged! Reluctant player mums would take great joy in beating their gamer kids and husbands. Groups of young adults delighted in stabbing each other in the back, demanding rematches to extract instant vengeance. Many of those we spoke to said the Indie Room was their favourite place in the event, always full of buzz and excitement...music to our ears!
|Competive families... let's hope they read the disclaimer!|
Our stand was roughly in the centre of the Indies, Merch and Curios room, amongst games of all shapes, sizes and styles, and that's not even mentioning having giants like SEGA and 2K games a short walk away from our room!
Thursday started off slow - this is fairly common at shows like these, especially on a weekday, and being towards the back of the venue. Nonetheless, players took up the challenge and played! Response was positive early on, and throughout, from kids to kids-at-heart and members of the press, players were having a blast. Maybe they were drawn by the man in the cartoon bull mascot head (or the chocolate coins!), but many stayed for multiple rounds, or brought over friends to keep the bovine buccaneer brawling going! We saw plenty of true enjoyment at our stand, particularly with a full 4-pirate crew playing, as well as facing our beastly boss battles!
The love for indie gaming was really exemplified when I ventured out of the indie room to see what else was on offer. Surprisingly many of the big budget publisher areas were very quiet - unexpected for a London-based gaming expo! Maybe it was having an events team presenting these games, who cannot possibly match the energy and passion of indie developers hosting their own pride and joy in the next room.
Overall, WASD was great fun and the reception for Bullion was brilliant! I'm already looking forward to the next show, wherever that may be!
|Joe Medforce's jacket was so shiny we wanted to nick it!|
Almost all the shows we've done previously have been about something else - usually retrogaming - with and indie zone tacked on. So walking through WASD to our stand with bits of our rig tied with string to a little trolley and seeing entire rooms devoted to the likes of Devolver and Team 17 did induce a certain level of imposter syndrome!
Getting the stand set up alleviated this feeling somewhat; with fewer set-dressing pieces and a full backdrop, it started to feel more like we at least appeared to be on a par with the others in the "indie room". The friendliness of those running the surrounding stands was also a great help - plus this time, we finally had the long-awaited Silverside head and jacket, which I spent most of the event prowling around in, and certainly gave us some extra "stand-out" quality.
The audience was much more industry-oriented than we had previously experienced - however, the game was as well received as ever, and we gained not only new contacts but a lot of valuable insight as well. And while the show was not as busy as we had hoped or expected, it was reassuring to learn that the "indie room" - for those of us not linked up to one of the big publishers - was the activity hotspot at the show!
The biggest take-away of all though was that despite our limitations as part-time, self-funded venture, we were able to stand toe-to-toe with much bigger studios and labels - and even, in the eyes of some, come out on top!
|The JM:TV Live crew were great to chat with and gave their all against Queen Ella!|
Quotes and highlights for the show...
- - "Bullion: Curse of the Cut-Throat Cattle shows potential as a fun little party game" - Xbox Tavern
- - "My true game of the show, which is a diamond in the rough, is Bullion!" - Joe Medforce, Words About Games
- - Stuart bringing the GDL team to the stand, in an attempt to defeat the boss he created (watch the video - below!)
- - The number of people wanting photos with Silverside!
... and there is still one more big surprise we've got lined up as a result of WASD... but we can't talk about it yet! As soon as we can, it'll be in our newsletter and on our discord, so sign up to get the news as it happens!