GoatPunks was Nominated for Best Multiplayer for the Gamers Voice Awards at SXSW 2016 and was invited to showcase at the Game Expo.
Arrived in Austin Texas on Wednesday, it was raining, cold and dead quiet. Did I get the place right? Judging by the weather reports before I left I thought it was suppose to be steaming hot in Austin. When I first got into downtown I had assumed it would be like every other metropolitan city covered with shopping centres and places to buy sim cards. It was nothing like that. I asked a CVS grocery store clerk if they had sim cards and the guy pointed me to some SD memory cards, “Is this what your after?”. For a place that I though was suppose to be somewhere up there as a tech hub or sanctuary for gamers this seemed like a fairly low tech place. It’s most likely I’ll have to do a lot more exploring to get acquainted with the place.
As the SXSW started and sun came out, the weather got warm, like really warm. The place started to pick up and after scouting out the place it seems as though the downtown mainly consisted of cafes, bars, restaurants, clubs and venues, while all the department stores and home shopping was on the outskirts, which now that I think about it, it kinda makes more sense.
My Airbnb host was a teacher at a rich exclusive school in Austin, he was teaching an english class with a subject on the story telling of games. So on the Friday morning I ended up doing a presentation for his kids, showing off GoatPunks. Things seem to go really well, the kids picked up the game very quickly. As soon as that was over I made my way into the city to catch my first talk at SXSW which was about AI and Big data. It was a packed house with many enthusiasts. The talk was about the state of AI at the moment and where we can take it in the future for home uses. Not long after that I caught up with Brendan from Blue Volcano and watched Obama’s Keynote speech. I eventually made my way to the SXSW Interactive opening party and met quite a few cool peeps there.
Second day of SXSW, Dan arrives. I got to check out a talk on CRISPR, went to a ShopGate party. hanged out at Maggie Mae’s then ended up at a private party with Coolio playing gangsters paradise.
During the next few days we saw plenty of talks and lots of bands most of which I have never heard of before, but I think that is what SXSW is all about, discovering new music, new companies, products and connections.
SXSW Gaming eventually came around starting on the 17th and ending on the 19th. Our booth was constantly busy, probably busier than any other convention I have done before. It was great to see an all open ages venue where kids could come and check out our game. In previous conventions unrated game weren’t allowed to showcase their game to ages 15 and bellow. This made it hard for us to grasp what our real audience was like. After showing at a SXSW gaming we discovered that kids aged 5 and up could pick up the game and play it successfully. Most of them got drawn in and would not let go of the controller. The diversity in the audience seem to span a large age group. We got kids dancing and rolling over on the couches, parents laughing, playing and having fun, teens throwing out involuntary commentary. We had lots of people came back to play. Most asked when is it coming out and what consoles. I’d say we got a pretty amazing reception for a game people most likely have never seen before. During the Gaming Awards party we had a huge cheer for our game when they announced the nominations. We didn’t win but judging by the cheers I think we came pretty close.
I didn’t know what to expect when coming to Austin Texas SXSW. I have to say I was pretty impressed and blown away by the diversity and enthusiasm of people wanting to create something new and make a difference in the world. I had such an awesome time in Austin SXSW and would definitely love to come back again.