Back from the Tokyo Game Show 2014

Posted by Erhune over 7 years ago

Fiuuuuuuuu, finally, I am back (and somehow alive) from the 4 days of Tokyo Game Show! What an adventure!

Of course, preparing for such a big event started quite a while ago. In July to be precise, when Grouroux and I decided to apply for a booth in the Indie Game Area of the Tokyo Game Show. This is a very new section of the show, which actually started last year, and last year they had about 10 indie games on display.

In August, they announced that 310 teams actually applied for the section this time, and learned that we were selected among 82 other games. This was already quite a victory!

Now, the next step was to decide what we wanted to show, taking into account some basic constraints: we had space for only one demo PC, and no Internet access. Quite the pinch to show an MMO! It is exactly the kind of situation where you have to get creative, and after about 3 weeks of work I had a build of the game that could be played on a local server, on a unique map that contained a bit of everything that you can find in the game (the Motherbase, some conquest, some missions, a boss, some player-built buildings, many ships and items to try...). I even could join this server from my laptop in order to play together with our visitors, when I had to show them the cooperative parts of the game.

I'm glossing over the preparations to make and order the flyers, posters, T-shirts... and jump to Thursday 18th on the morning. Bringing 2 suitcases worth of stuff across half of Tokyo and Chiba, we finally arrived at the Makuhari Messe convention center at around 8:00 to set up the booth.

We started right away by taking some pictures with The Japan Times for an article about indie games in Japan that they had been working on with us for some time now:

The 2 first days of Tokyo Game Show are called Business Days and are restricted to game media and people working in the game industry (developers, publishers, schools...). We had quite a few journalists stopping by and showing interest in Gangs of Space:

Including our fellow French TV crew at Nolife:

During these days, we had the honor of being nominated for both the 4gamer Awards and the Dengeki Online Awards. These are 2 VERY big Japanese magazines, and being chosen by them has been an honor! 4gamer actually wrote a very lengthy article about Gangs of Space which has probably been one of the best written about us so far! (but sorry guys, you need to learn Japanese because I'm not gonna translate this huge block of text ^^')

The next 2 days of Tokyo Game Show are called Public Days and are open to anyone. Just to give you an idea, this year the total attendance was 251,000 people, mostly over the 2 Public Days, so that's A LOT of people!!!

In anticipation for the rush, here I am at 8:00 fixing some last-minute bugs when everyone else is still sleeping: (thank you, coffee vending machine! you have been my best buddy of the whole show!)

And heeeeere is coming the Horde of players!

Actually, compared to the rest of the event in which is was barely possible to walk (reaching the toilets from our booth took me 10 min to cross the ~50m...), the Indie Game Area had a very nice attendance: enough people so that we were busy all the time, but fewt enough so that you could actually take your time talking to people, and that they wouldn't be lining for too long.

On Saturday evening, there was an event called Indie Stream Fes 2014 geared toward indie developers, and with the presence of some big shots like Keiji Inafune or Phil Spencer. We had already been nominated among 9 other games to win one of their awards, and actually were very fortunate to win the Technical Arts Award (which is a very nice way to say Erhune, you rock as a programmer, would you marry me? blush ).

Here are all the winners:

That was insanely cool, but it also meant I almost couldn't enjoy the food, having to present Gangs of Space to another bunch of people who were suddenly interested in the game ^^

But that makes a nice new decoration for our booth!

As an award winner, I was also invited to talk a bit at the PoriPori☆Club live-streamed show. They are a bunch of high-profile Japanese indies who talk every month about indie games and game development while drinking some beers. On my right is Kimura-san, the developer of the insanely-fun Million Onion Hotel. And on his right, our Beer God, Touhou's creator ZUN.

In the end, it was really fun to meet so many interesting people, and I want to thank everyone that came to our booth and tried Gangs of Space, and everyone I talked to during these 4 crazy days. Including, but not limited to:

RIKI-san, the crazy creator of indie-NES game KIRA KIRA STAR. Check out this guy, he's just too crazy ^^

Kumachom, former PuyoPuyo champion and crazy Ikaruga Double Play player, who came to show his madz dual-stick skillz after making a demonstration on the Alienware booth:

Our fellow indie MMO developer Robby Zinchak who also won a well-deserved Technical Award for his 8BitMMO at Sense of Wonder Night.

And so many thanks to Sony who sponsored all the booths in the Indie Game Area and tried to maintain all of us alive by refilling us with bottles of water, and to our friends who helped me tend the booth while the evil Grouroux was absent:

Swordless Zorro cosplayer @fabienvauthey:

Mahjong-player extraordinaire @polm:

And genius T-shirt maker Paprika of AkibaMMO:

That's all folks!

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