This week has been really exciting, as there were two big events coming up: first the Big Indie Pitch on Tuesday, which was sponsored by Sega, and second the Gamescom, which I haven’t been to for five years.
The Big Indie Pitch
The organizers of the Big Indie Pitch seemed to like leaving its attendees in the dark, as the only info I got was that I will be pitching my iOS game SwapQuest to ten journalists (from PocketGamer, TouchGen, Making Games, etc.) in some kind of speed dating manner.
As this was the first time I pitched a game to anyone, I was really nervous. I ran around Cologne for two hours just to walk off my tension and at the time the event started I was calm (or maybe exhausted) enough to enjoy it. The first thing I noticed was that the location was really narrow and after a few minutes overcrowded with developers and journalists. As I only knew one person at the whole event (from the german indie developer forum Indie Arena) I sat down next to him and tried to figure out how this would work. As it turned out, not even the journalists had an idea what they will have to do.
Upon entering the location, though, every developer got a number that told you when you would be pitching. I was number 8, so I didn’t have to wait too long before I could show SwapQuest.
In the end it turned out that the whole pitching really worked like speed dating, as you would sit down at a table with two journalists and present your game in five minutes. After that, you had to hurry to the next table, as there were no breaks between the pitches. It was quite funny to jump from one table to another, restart the game, greet the journalists, pull two business cards out of your pocket and get started with your presentation, all in mere seconds.
After that, the actual fun began. I talked to a lot of different indies and saw some awesome games, like Sky Arena by Hammer Labs or Fiete by Ahoiii (which won the BIP, btw). It was definitely an afternoon/evening well spent.
The only thing that really bothered me was that the organizers didn’t do their homework properly. There were 40 developers that each had 5 minutes to present their game. This means at least 200 minutes of pitching, not counting in any breaks or whatever. I’m not really sure why they hadn’t foreseen it, but after 25 developers had pitched their games to the press, it was decided that it would take too much time to let everyone pitch and the whole event just stopped to announce the winner. I spoke to one of the poor guys that weren’t allowed to pitch and he was really disappointed (and even worse, he had a great game to show!).
In the end, SwapQuest made the 2nd place in the competition and I was very happy with it.
The next big event was the Gamescom, one of the biggest gaming exhibitions in the world. I didn’t have high hopes to achieve anything there, but I wanted to promote SwapQuest some more by talking to people about funding and distribution and of course the game itself. Sadly, I made a really bad mistake. I didn’t think of buying a ticket for the business area. What that meant was that I was walking around the exhibition halls for four hours, fighting through hordes of teenagers, becoming almost deaf by the loud music and screaming entertainers on stage, putting business cards into the hands of irritated gamers and onto random tables, just to end up completely exhausted and dizzy and empty-handed. It was a disaster. From the moment I stepped into the large foyer I knew I was in the wrong place. I didn’t care much for the new games and AAA masterpieces and free giveaways.
The only thing that saved this day was being able to see the IndieArena booth, where ten brave indies collaborated to create the first booth for German indie developers. And it was great! The booth was quite simple and straightforward with ten stations where you could play the best of German indie games. My personal highlights were The Inner World by Studio Fizbin, Sky Arena by Hammer Labs (again), and Forced by Beta Dwarf Entertainment. But be sure to check out the trailer to see all of them, there’s just so much quality in these games, it’s amazing!
I was on the Gamescom only for five hours, but that was more than enough for me. If I go next year, I will definitely make sure I’ll get a ticket that includes the business area. Lesson learned.
Did you go to the Gamescom or even the Big Indie Pitch this year? What were your impressions? Comment below.