December 3, 2017
Game On! and the debut of Harrowing Adventures
On Thursday night we debuted Harrowing Adventures to the public! We were invited to present at Game On!, a co-production of SXSW Gaming and the Austin Chronicle. It was organized in conjunction with the Bob Bullock Museum’s current video game exhibit “From Pong to Pokemon: The Evolution of Electronic Gaming”.
We had a really great night. The event was well attended by people of all ages. We made a lot of new friends and had many great conversations. It’s nice to see what a friendly and enthusiastic gaming community we have in Austin, and it’s really cool to experience developers and gamers getting together to share their excitement about the latest indie games.
We were pleased to learn that interest in interactive fiction is alive and strong. Many people professed their love of Choose Your Own Adventure. Some even remembered Zork (which also happened to be featured in the museum exhibit as well). Everyone we talked with was excited about the idea of a multiplayer interactive story, regardless of age or background. Even a kindergarten reading teacher had some enthusiastic comments for us regarding the game’s potential to get kids interested in reading. CYOA was in fact how I got into reading (I’ve already blogged about that here), and I’d love it if our game could do the same for other kids and young adults.
In addition to the great support we received from local game players, we also had a great time getting to know other local game developers. Many of them had positive words for our game project, and likewise we feel very excited about many of the other indie games that are being developed in Austin. One game I’m particularly excited about is Savage: The Shard of Gosen, a Metroidvania-style game with a Conan-like character and Frank Frazetta-style art. Check it out here: planettobor.com/savage . And I was really pleased to meet the sole developer, fellow scientist, and mastermind behind a very cool concept game: a rhythm memory game (think Simon meets Dance Dance Revolution) called ReBeat: https://heisengerm.itch.io/rebeat. I hope we will cross paths with these developers again!
Lastly, I want to mention the Pong to Pokemon exhibit at the Bullock Museum (featured until March 2018). It’s a really great exhibit and definitely worth seeing if you are a video gamer of any vintage. As its name implies, the exhibit covers all computer games, from the earliest up to the latest. They have a Magnavox Odyssey on display, the first ever home entertainment system which debuted in 1972. There are many interesting display cases, including one that exhibits game controllers over the decades (even the Power Glove makes an appearance!). And, perhaps the best part, the exhibit is of course highly interactive. Play Pong in its original form on the Atari, or play the arcade version of Street Fighter 2, or play Tetris on the Gameboy, or play the original Oregon Trail and Zork. How many hours did I spend doing all of those things as a kid?? So the exhibit is a historical collection, an arcade, and a trip down memory lane, all at once. I highly recommend checking it out if you live in the Austin area.