What an interesting place indeed! If you’re reading this you probably know that Gamescom took place last week, and this year, yours truly got to go! Who am I? Hi, my name is Adetona Ajao, it’s a pleasure to meet you! I’m the COO at Fraxel Games, which basically means that if it ain’t coding, drawing, animating or composing, I’m probably involved somehow. Here’s a picture of me finding out in real time that my coffee is actually tea.
In this particular case, I had to go because I had some people to see and some meetings to attend in that part of the trade shows that you never tend to think about if you don’t work in the industry, the mythical business area! Full of mystical meeting rooms and magical networking spots, where business cards are wielded as swords and words can be woven into life altering contracts!
And it was in that land of miracles and wonders that I came to do battle, armed with a stack of greeting cards and a tablet carrying some powerpoints, a few videos and the vertical slices for the two projects that we’re currently working on. Again, if you’re reading this you’re probably more than aware of what a vertical slice is, but for those of you that might be unfamiliar with the term a Vertical Slice is to a Demo what an Early Access can be for a finished game. It is the game in it’s very first stages, a prototype to show possible publishers or investors what your idea might look like as a playable product. And if they happen to like what they see, that’s where the real magic happens…
Speaking of which, here’s me with Silvia Barraclough, she’s from Games from Spain and she’s a super cool lady that helps spanish indie developers make it to places like Gamescom along with associations such as DEV or AEVI (and if you’re a spanish dev and you haven’t heard of these groups, you should probably check them out).
So for 3 days and 3 nights I did battle, for when the night came, the battlefield just kept on raging across the beautiful city of Cologne, we fought in bars, we fought in hotel parties and, I kid you not, we fought on a boat. Speaking of which, here’s a picture of a boat. Not the party boat, a different boat, unfortunately I didn’t think to take any pictures of the party boat at the time, so here’s a nice picture of a different boat. Cologne is a beautiful city.
So for the first 3 days I wasn’t really able to leave the business area except when I was wandering between the halls from meeting to meeting. But during such wanderin’ I did had a few minutes here and there to check out some games, so I spent most of that time inside the most interesting part of the show: The indicade!
I’m totally serious here. I’m not saying that the main floors are not worth checking out, they absolutely are. It is a bewielding sight to behold the displays that tripleA companies bring to these types of shows, but for the most part, anyone that consumes video game related social media or regularly visit any video game website is going to easily see that content. Indies on the other hand? We have a much harder time catching the public eye with the sheer amount of cool games that are out there.
I consider myself quite the informed consumer when it comes to video games since I’ve been in and out of the industry for quite a few years now, and still, the coolest thing happened to me in the Indicade. I got to play Star Renegades.
And what is Star Renegades, I hear you ask? Well, a couple of years ago a super cool game I sank a bunch of hours into came out: Halcyon 6, an awesome indie title created by the good folks at Massive Damage that’s a love letter to old school sci fi and an absolute must for any Babylon 5 fans out there. They’re these fine folks right here, by the way.
And as I’m walking through the indicade, I suddenly stop dead in my tracks, raise my finger like a dumbass and say to the developers: “Hey, that games looks cool, kinda reminds game of an indie game I loved called Halcyon 6”. To which they responded: “Yeah, that’s kinda also us”. And it was probably the best time I had in the show, getting my party of space badasses absolutely rekt in the retro inspired, tactical roguelike sci fi thingie they’re shaping Star Renegades to be, and I had a blast of a time. For me the best surprise of the show, I had absolutely no idea they were making another game!
So if I had to take something away from the experience, work aside, it would definitely be the people. In this industry we tend to forget that behind every game there’s a whole team of people, dreams and sorrows pouring their whole being into making something cool for us to enjoy, so for me the best part of the show definitely was getting to say some unexpected thank yous to some of the people I admire. And not just professionally, but also for lovingly crafing my main source of entertainment.
And while we’re on this precise subject, I also got to say hi to the cool folks at Techland! Who were kind enough to not turn me away at the door and squeeze me with all the press people to play some Bad Blood and to see some Dying Light 2! As you’ve probably guessed, I’m quite the sci fi nerd, and I also love the zombie genre quite a bit (as they’re technically sci fi? yes? Are we rolling with this?), so as you can imagine I had quite a bit of fun with the first Dying Light, and I remember as I was playing the first game thinking “these guys are probably a pretty cool bunch, aren’t they?”. Well, getting to talk to them and finding out they’re an awesome group of passionate people is a 10 out of 10 experience, fully endorsed.
The truth is I’ve been to video game cons before, some from the side of the press, most from the side of the fans, but this was my first from the big 3 where I’ve attended from the biz side, as I’m sure kids these days are absolutely not calling it, and it’s been a bit of a transformative experience to be in the thick of it from that front. Now that cons are my place of business I look at the big trippleA stages and I see the price tags more than the game, I look at a game and I see the hours upon hours of work that must have taken several people to get that swinging palm tree from the background “just right”.
It is a crazy indstry, video games. A growing and ever changing beast that’s just starting to reach maturity but is still quite a way from getting it’s driver’s license. But it’s also a place full of love, dreams and possibility, and seeing how much effort and care everyone is putting into making enjoyable experience is something that fills my heart with a fiery drive that allows me to give my absolute most every single day. So thank you all. Thanks to my fellow devs for being a constant source of inspiration, thank you to all the players that trusted us with giving them a good experience for allowing us to chase our dreams, and while I’m saying my thanks, thank you reader for making it this far, whomever you might be and wherever you might come from.
So regardless of the type of games you’re into, have fun with them! But if you can, do me a solid, the next time you get to a cool place where you just have to stop your character for a sec to take in the landscape, look for that palm tree and you might just see the dreams of a whole bunch of people right under it’s textures 🙂
What a crazy industry indeed…. but it’s just so much fun!
Oh, and here’s a picture of a cathedral!