Wait… Did You Say You’re Going To PAX?

This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.

I put “Drew and the Floating Labyrinth” to several indie game competitions, letting it be reviewed by several committees and panels and judges. These all met with loss to other games. Which is to be expected, although I still think the uniqueness of my game stands out a bit more (easy, don’t get jealous…).

One of the many things I submitted to was “Indie Megabooth,” which technically wasn’t a contest: they try to book space at large events and rent off their spaces to indie developers, ultimately being cheaper for them. The developer still pays for the space, but the Indie Megabooth has to pick which games to show. They were the most encouraging of all the feedback I’ve received, but still passed on “Drew.”

But “Indie Megabooth” has connections, which is why I highly recommend all serious indie developers to submit to them. I got emails from other agents and groups that support indie development, some charity, some businesses. One such opportunity was to show my game at PAX anyway, by booking my own booth, at roughly the same cost as what Indie Megabooth offered. I didn’t have time to be hesitant, so I took it.

This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.

Booth cost is actually quite reasonable considering the bigness of PAX PRIME. Especially with all the press that typically covers the event. But I’m a last minute exhibitor, on the 6th floor (the second of two floors for PAX, infamous for getting a fraction of attendee traffic) at booth 7408. Generally the contacts were very kind and helpful, although incredibly late in getting back to me through email (no doubt they’re busy). Being a late booking and not being fully informed and due to last minute changes in payment options, I missed an important deadline that would have cut additional costs in half. Ultimately, that’s mostly my fault, even now days before the event I have problems obtaining what I hope to bring with me to the booth. I will write a blog entry in the future detailing costs to help future developers.

My problem is that “Drew and the Floating Labyrinth” wasn’t chosen. I paid for it to be there, like paying for advertising. It feels like cheating. There has to be a reason it wasn’t selected by anyone. Yes, it’s unique, and it’s important to me, but maybe spending so much time with it makes me biased. Or, more likely, I made the game that I want to exist, and that’s why I think so highly of it despite being fully aware of its limitations, and I see something that most people just don’t care about in the first place. So I desperately take a giant step to make sure people SEE it… if I don’t get what I’m looking for after this, that’s enough for me. But what exactly am I looking for? Not sales, or press… I ultimately want other developers to see the potential of hand-drawn animation, not hyper-realistic 3D or low-fi pixel art. Hence why I tried to book a spot near students and artist hardware makers (hopefully they didn’t move after I claimed a spot).

This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.

It isn’t exactly an easy sell in a 5 second glance for passers-by in the large show floor. The music and voice acting will virtually be non-existent, the simplistic level design and gameplay will be lost on most people. The story and environments don’t look even the slightest bit interesting until the end. The visuals are truly the first thing that people will see, and while its the biggest selling point of “Drew,” it’s also the biggest flaw, limited by me. I can only imagine haters of the game reading this in shock that I think it actually deserves to be at PAX (compared to some games, perhaps, but I’m not so vain to think my game is actually that good). There’s a high chance that this will make absolutely no difference in attention, sales, Greenlight votes, Kickstarter backers, etc. I’d have to sell over a thousand copies to break even after this, and with only Desura as a confirmed store and no past history to suggest I will sell even one. Not to mention PAX’s controversy last year that may cause a unseen drop in attendance… I’m scared.

I’m scared. I should have just tried to get a attendee pass and mingle with developers casually. I didn’t need a booked space. The best I can hope for is that I can make connections, learn something and enjoy myself… and maybe get a single person’s eyes to light up when they realize what “Drew” is.

I was able to get a couple friends to also help run the booth, each with their own projects to show. Hopefully we can make the most of the event and the costs and make this worthwhile.

This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.






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