For those that didn’t attend, at the end of August IGDA DC hosted an indie game showcase/event called District Arcade. Around 25 indie developers demoed their games, all hosted at Bravo Bravo just off Farragut Square in DC. Through some luck and fortunate timing, a few IGDA members were part of an All Things Considered segment earlier that week and there was also writeups in various “What To Do In DC”-style outlets.
Showing Slime Wars was a blast. We got a great spot right near the entrance. (And, as I found out afterwards, near the best air conditioning vent.) I was only showing the game on tablet, so the little tables and small couch were perfect for bringing people in for a 3 or 4 player match.
I think the game’s ruleset (only 3 rules!) made it easy to pique the interest of meandering attendees, as did calling it “a digital board game”. Some of the my favorite curiously intrigued players were the couples in their 40’s or 50s who were there with their adult children. (Likely looking for something fun to do in town.) They generally looked a little “well this is neat but it’s not for me” but stuck around for a quick how-to when they saw others huddled around a tablet playing the game. One lady, who described herself as somebody who “doesn’t play many games,” kept getting knocked out early in 4-player games and just tried game after game until she finally won. A few people throughout the day even took it upon themselves to teach other attendees how to play as they walked up.
Despite quite a few silly hiccups early on, the event went smoothly and positively. My thanks to the organizers who continued to keep it all going. (Thanks Rae for checking in on me! Also thanks to Squid from MAGfest for handling the obnoxious mega-speaker across from the booth.) After five hours of demos and music and barely enough room to move sometimes, I believe the final attendee count was just shy of 300 people. It felt like way more than that.
- DON’T forget to make an updated build some time prior to the train ride to the event. (Dumb)
- DON’T forget to put the latest build on ALL of your demo devices. (Lazy)
- DON’T rely on public transit to get you there quickly. (I should know better)
- DON’T scramble to find your extra business cards and have to fall back to old crappy ones that don’t even mention the studio or website. (Smeared handwritten URLs are professional, right?)
- DON’T forget to charge your devices during the event. (It took 15 minutes to get a crowd built up again!)
- DO bring extra devices, in case one suddenly hits 0% battery in the middle of an intense 4-player match.
- DO take some time to be hands-off and watch people interact with your game and each other.
- DO collect feedback from those who are passionate enough to offer it. You may not agree, but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Except that one guy.
- DO have a back-up plan for internet/builds/power, even if its temporarily abandoning your booth to tether your phone to your tablet ten minutes before it opens.
- DO bring flyers, posters, etc. so people can easily look you and your game up on their phones.