A Trip to Indie MEGASHOW 2017


Date
8/9/2017
In Short
Jason continues his summer tour of game events with a trip to Indie MEGASHOW 2017 in Atlanta.
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On July 15, Indie MEGASHOW hosted its first show, MEGABOOTH, at the Tabernacle in Atlanta. The event, highlighting indie games developed in the Atlanta area, along with local musical talent, was sponsored by Sony PlayStation and Adult Swim Games and was an ambitious undertaking, to say the least. Converting a famed concert space in Atlanta, one that I have many memories tied to myself (No Use For A Name, The Eyeliners and Yellowcard was a standout show I saw at the Tabernacle oh so many moons ago), was clearly a huge undertaking and one that hadn't been attempted by any game/music event before, but MEGABOOTH went off almost without a hitch.

The event, set up across all three main levels of the venue, had indie games galore for attendees to try, often with the games' developers hanging out and answering questions. The intimate focus was definitely a highlight, as Adult Swim Games' developers and PR folks held the bottom floor, various indie games were showcased on the middle floor and VR experiences were shown on the top floor. Adult Swim Games had about a half-dozen indie titles from within their own studio to show off, some released, some not. Of all the games shown by Adult Swim Games, two stood head and shoulders above the rest ' Duck Game and Rain World. The frantic shooter that is Duck Game is out on PC now, but coming to Xbox One and PS4 soon, and Rain World is available on PS4 and PC now. Unfortunately, when asked, the developers present had no ideas on when or if any of these strange titles would be coming to Nintendo Switch, but I was given the impression that plans are in the works for at least a few of them.

On the main floor, the two standout games were demoed early in the day to a much smaller crowd than would eventually accumulate. Brace Yourself Games Crypt of the Necrodancer and Blue Mammoth Games' Brawlhalla were the first two games showcased, and easily the most appealing and fun of the entire bunch. Watching Crypt of the Necrodancer being played on a Dance Dance Revolution dancepad made the game seem even more appealing and fun that it already is on iOS (the only version I've had the pleasure of going through). And for a game based on music, the venue couldn't be more perfect; the game's soundtrack was blasted through the Tabernacle's impressive sound system, really bringing the bass lines and chiptune music that accompanies the game to life.

Blue Mammoth Games' Brawlhalla, a frantic four-player fighter in the vein of Super Smash Bros., was the next game showcased. The cartoon-like graphics and extremely fast action were great on display on the venue's big screens, though most attendees had problems beating any of the development team in one-on-one battles. Still, even though the game has already been released, it was new to me, and I was definitely impressed with what I saw. The potential as an eSport was evident, and playing the game was second only in fun to watching people who could go pro duke it out in a four-player battle royale.

There were too many games in attendance to mention them all, but other standouts included the basically insane co-op shooter TwinCop from Finite Reflections Studios, Hanako: Honor and Blade from Mpact Games and Depth of Extinction from HOF Games. The good news was I didn't play anything while I was there that wasn't at least slightly fun and interesting, so the game lineup was pretty stellar in that regard. The VR booths showcased upstairs showed some very cool gaming and even artistic projects (Google's Tilt Brush looked pretty cool in action), but sadly I didn't have a chance to demo any of the stations set out for attendees.

What set MEGABOOTH apart from other events I've attended was the complete and total shift in focus that rolled around at around 6pm. What started as a moderately attended gaming event (it got progressively more crowded as the afternoon progressed; it's a good thing press people were given an hour extra at the beginning of the event to try games before the public was allowed to enter) became an electronica and hip-hop concert freakout, with local artists taking the stage and performing. The Pheels and NOVI NOV were the most impressive of the lineup, but the entire show, which ran until after 1am, by the way, was actually pretty great, even for someone who doesn't particularly care for the genres performed.

All in all, for a first time event, MEGABOOTH was a resounding success. Attendance was definitely lighter than I would have thought early in the day, but things filled in as the hours went by. The games shown, though not big names by any stretch of the imagination, were all very cool and showed some real promise from some younger developers, and seeing games showcased on the Tabernacle's main stage was a novelty in and of itself. The music, that represented a total 180 focus shift at 6pm, wasn't really my thing but it was still a thrill to be in the audience for the high energy performances. MEGABOOTH has some room to grow as a gaming show and showcase, but it was more than a success in the Atlanta July heat.

Indie MEGASHOW




Transmitted: 8/18/2017 4:53:05 AM