Me and Festigame 2014

So, just like last year, I visited Festigame, Chile’s biggest game festival. It was awesome! These people definitely know how to organize an event, and they get better each year. For the 2013 blog post I just narrated some of the highlights, but this time I’m going to be doing an overview of my whole visit.

At The Start

So, as usual, things started when I made it there. I arrived early, and had to wait half an hour, but it was definitely worth it. By the time the doors were opening, I couldn’t see where the crowd behind me ended. Chilean masses aren’t the most patient kind, so as soon as people started entering, people started charging forward with no regard for anyone besides themselves. It was tight, but I eventually made it to the entrance with no incidents. So, what did I do first when I was inside? Considering it had just started, I guessed it was a good time to get in line to play a game. I went to the Nintendo booth and… yeah… the line for Super Smash Bros WiiU was already gigantic. So, I decided to go to the line for Hyrule Warriors which was much shorter, but… it didn’t really advance at all. Literally. I waited for 20 minutes, but as far as I could tell, the line hadn’t even advanced one person. I just gave up and decided to check out the rest of the place.
One of the good things they did this year was to expand the space and add an outside tent, so the inner area was just dedicated to games while they moved the shops and the food court to the tent. Another good thing this year was that Sony decided to actually bring demos for unreleased Vita games! (last year there was just stuff that had already released) As a Vita fan, I was pretty giddy to get to play Freedom Wars (fun and feels great, although the demo enemy was very boring) and try out Minecraft Vita, but at the same time, it was pretty sad. Just like last year, the line for the Vita was virtually non-existent, but I think it may be partly because the demo time is really really short. I mean seriously, if there’s next to nobody waiting, you could let me play more than a couple of minutes. In the end though, I decided to come back later (and I got a voucher for a free month of PS+, so I can’t say I was particularly angry).

At The Stage

Next up, it was time to check out the main stage, and luckily most of the things I was interested in happened in succesion. First up, I quickly checked out the chilean youtuber show. I was mostly curious because I had no idea what kind of thing they would do on stage, but I also wanted to understand why these guys are so popular (Xoda and Vardoc, for those curious). I mean, these guys were invited to do something every single day of the event, and there will even be a event just about them. Long story short… didn’t get it at all. It seems they were doing some kind of comedy where they invited people on stage and asked them for their IDs. More than anything, they made jokes about their names, but I can’t say I found it very funny. The public did laugh many times though, so I guess it just isn’t my kind of humor. I’m guessing I really need to watch their videos if I want to understand anything…
The things after that were more to my taste though, and were the main reason I was there. First up was a presentation from VG Chile, the Chilean game developers association (technically, they’re a guild but it feels funny to use that word). It was just stuff I already knew, the point of the presentation was to show off to the people who don’t know much about the Chilean game industry, but it was cool anyways. The same thing is true for the next presentation, which was from chilean studio ACE Team, where one of the three founders came up and showed a demo reel of their past games and the trailer of their latest, Abyss Odyssey.  But still, there wasn’t anything new. That changed with the next chilean studio presenting though, Iguana Bee. What makes Iguana Bee interesting (well, besides the fact their logo is quite literally a iguana bee) is that they’re the first Latin American studio to be part of the Sony’s Worldwide Studios, which includes some of the big guys such as Team Ico and Naughty Dog. They’re developing Monsterbag, a adventure/puzzle like game for PS Vita, and they showed off gameplay for the first time here. Although the presentation could have been better in some aspects, the game looks incredibly charming, and I’m looking forward to it. Oh, and they threw souvenirs to the public after the MonsterBag presentation finished. Almost died, but I manged to get an armband (becauuse it hit me in the face), so I guess all is ok.

At The Conference Room (and what followed after)

After all the stuff at the stage was done, I went to check out some talks. The first one was quite interesting, it was from a guy at DeNA Santiago (who interestingly enough was a Japanese dude born in Spain) He basically explained their development process, which was applying Agile to gamedev. They try to get their game out the door as soon as possible, and then based on the player statistics and feedback they improve the game. I’m not entirely sure how this would work outside mobile development, but it reminds me somewhat of Early Access games. After was a talk that sounded quite interesting: “How to Make A Business Out Of Games” (or something like that), except… it wasn’t about that at all. It was almost a joke; the talk was basically how two guys explained the story of their company, and how they still hadn’t managed to have any success with their games. I didn’t really want to stand up and leave in the middle of the talk, but it really dragged on, and was taking longer than scheduled. In the end though, it finished and I got out as soon as I could. On the good side though, I saw a guy I had met at the VG Chile Meetup a few weeks ago and chatted for a while.
Lunch was a simple hotdog and fries (the fries were really really good…), and after that, it was time to check out the VG Chile stand. Sadly, I didn’t make it to play the first series of games (the stand was small and the companies were many so they were taking turns), but I did manage to play Abyss Odyssey (and man, they kicked my ass), and check out Amnesia Games’s Joan Sword (simple but fun). After a quick ice cream break (nutella ice cream is awesome), I went to look through the stores. The more established stores that had stands in the main area were pretty cool (I managed to check out the Hyrule Historia, and it is beautiful), but there was a lot of meh in the normal stands. I guess I’m kinda frustated because so much of it was just anime related stuff, but it makes sense since the two audiences overlap a lot. That said though, the most surprising was the chilean military service stand… Apparently recruiters are a normal thing in certain game conventions, but it’s the first time I ever see it in person. I was looking at the shops more than anything for a prize for the SSB tournament I’ve mentioned on twitter (which already started, actually), but I couldn’t really find anything that was Smash Bros. related. In the end, I just got some small stuff for minor prizes and decided to look elsewhere.
Before leaving, I went for one last walk around, to enjoy the fact most of the public had disppersed. Steven Ogg, the voice actor for Trevor in GTAV, was on stage throwing autographed t-shirts to the public, so steered clear to avoid any accidents. I decided to play some more Freedom Wars since there was no line (and somehow I managed to crash the game), and I played Hohokum (didn’t understand what I had to do, but it was pretty and felt nice). Also, I managed to try Smash Bros. 4! The WiiU line was as huge as always, but the 3DS was small and advancing fast, so I went and managed to get in quite quickly. I absolutely sucked, but I managed to try all of the new characters. And thus, I did all I wanted to do and left.

Closing Thoughts

I had a really great time. I honestly wouldn’t have minded coming all the days, mostly to check out the different events and talks, but I had other stuff to do. But, while I was at the expo, I noticed there’s something I’d like more than that: to be at Festigame, not as a gamer, but as a developer, presenting my own game. Why not make it a goal, then?

Yeah, three years. Is it ambitious? Yeah. Will I make it? Probably not, but who knows. There’s one thing for sure though: I will do my best to try and accomplish it.

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