I have to say, after the past three days, I like Rezzed. I don’t have any point of comparison though as I’ve never before been to any gaming convention/expo. This was my first time and it was fantastic. I didn’t know what to expect to be honest.
On the first day I arrived extra early, which was easy considering the room I rented is about five minutes away from the venue, the Tobacco Dock. I got into a queue and waited for about thirty minutes before they started letting us in…so we could queue inside. I got my fancy Press wristband, which made me feel awesome and I waited for about thirty more minutes until the doors opened.
The first day was extremely busy for me. I had pretty much back-to-back interviews with a ton of developers but I also managed to meet up for the first time and hang out with my pal Tim (from Geekout South-West) and said hi to other fellow bloggers.
I spent the rest of the day talking to as many people as I could, trying out every game I had planned on seeing and some that I didn’t have schedules for. My first game however, at 11am on the dot when I entered the Docks, was Bloodborne. I don’t have a PS4 and I’m not likely to get one in the near future so this was my one chance of trying it out and I loved it. It’s Dark Souls 2 sped up, no blocking and just a lot of dying. But to be honest, for me the astounding selection of outrageously good indie games completely overshadowed the big AAA games.
Over the next few days, I’ll be talking in depth about these awesome games I saw and played, and had the pleasure of interviewing their creators: Mushroom 11, Machiavillain, Mighty Tactical Shooter, SkyScrappers, Beyond Eyes, Omega Agent, The Room 3, Volume, Zombie Vikings, Knee Deep, The Weaponographist and Sublevel Zero!
One of the highlights of the first day for me was getting my ass kicked by Tim on Street Fighter 2 at a small arcade one of the shops had, and then completely trouncing him on Street Fighter vs X-Men. I then had a match of it with the shop owner and beat him as well. “I should stick to my day job, I think.” The nice man said and I couldn’t do anything but laugh. It was loads of fun.
That day we ended playing Five Tribes at the board game room. Tim vs Kevin – The Ultimate Matchup…I won!
Second day was a blast! I started the morning drooling over Omega Agent, by Fireproof games. I took a shot at it and immediately went for the highest point I could find: the mountain in the distance where I found a massive golf ball I pushed down the slope. I interviewed the Fireproof lads and moved on to other interviews I had planned—it was a seriously busy event for me, I had more interviews lined up than I expected to get because The Mental Attic isn’t as large or important a site as the ones managed by my colleagues and/or friends.
One of those was with Volume and Thomas was Alone creator Mike Bithell, a really, really nice guy. I had a lovely chat with him but what made the interview special for me was that we held it at the Press Lounge, which felt amazing, made me feel like a proper journalist. We spoke about the game and the plans for about 20 minutes, and you’ll get to read up on everything he mentioned in a future article.
Second day ended the way the first one did: Tim and I playing board games, this time around Sheriff of Nottingham. In a game where you’re supposed to be corrupt and smuggle contraband, Tim played the decent human being, only brining in the goods he declared, while one of the staff and I did our best to bribe each other to get our contraband across. At first I worried that Tim would clean out with his honest strategy, but when we tallied up the points, he and I tied and the other guy beat us by about one hundred points. So the better player won. My only regret is I couldn’t buy the game right then, a combination of limited funds and limited weight for my carry-on.
When Tim left I still had some time to kill so I went to The Weaponographist booth to give it another go, talking to Danny, one of the developers, and trying to clear the demo as fast as possible to win some free loot. I sucked at it and couldn’t beat the times, but it was a ton of fun and Danny was a really fun guy.
Third day was the busiest day by far since it was a Saturday but I had already done and seen so much that for me it was rather slow. I started the day with The Room 3. One of the cool people from Fireproof Games, Barry Meade, told me the day before to get the previous two games to try them out, which I did and loved them. So I got there, with fresh questions in mind but he wasn’t around. There were two kids playing the demo and they were breezing past it, to everyone’s surprise. When Barry arrived with the tablet for the second TV, I settled down and went to work. I spent a good 30 minutes on it one of the puzzles stumped me in the end, but it turns out I missed something, a clue, which is always the case with me in adventure games. But it was a fun game and I got the chance to talk to him a bit more about it, about where it’s going and the inspiration behind it.
I wandered around quite a bit on the third day but I did get the chance to play Toren, which I had my eye on from the start. Toren is a game developed by a Brazilian team (published by Versus-Evil and backed by the Brazilian government) with a clear Ico or Shadow of the Colossus inspiration. You control a nameless girl on some mysterious landscape, climbing and solving environmental puzzles and even escaping from a ferocious dragon. It’s beautiful, with gorgeous cel-shading that makes it all look surreal, almost dreamlike. According to the Versus-Evil rep, the story’s a bit out there for non-Brazilians since it’s all based on local folklore and myths. Still, the presentation and gameplay was so good I will get it as soon as it comes out. Luckily for me it’s not only coming on PS4 but also Steam.
I also went by the Special Effect booth. Since last year when I participated in Gameblast 2014, I’ve had a close eye on them and I want to support them as much as possible. They were showing some of the custom controls they use for the gamers they help and I was blown away by their dedication and passion. I’m definitely getting in touch with them as soon as I can to set something up!
Afterwards I managed to grab a follow up interview with Prologue Games, this time with the Knee Deep writer, to talk about the noir inspirations for the game, which is something that interested me very much being a massive fan of the genre.
Tim and I then took turns getting shoved into a coffin while the other tried to find us in a first person game. The one in the box had a VR set and he would give hints for the other one to follow. The game’s called Tophobos, means Coffin Fear and it’s an Academic exercise on discomfort in games. They went for physical discomfort, hence the cramped coffin. For someone of my size and build it was really uncomfortable, but Tim said it was rather enjoyable for a guy like him. He was in his Oscar cosplay so he was perfectly appropriate to be in a coffin.
After rescuing each other from an early grave, Mr. Timlah and I had a nice interview with the mind behind it, James Brown. You’ll be able to hear it soon as we recorded it with Tim’s awesome mic!
Later we played a nice hand of Jungle Speed, where I spent the entire game just collecting cards. We also discovered I’m better at pattern and shape recognition than actual reflexes. When it was match-by-colour I lost every time because I couldn’t grab the totem in time, but on match-by-shape I did a really good job…though by the end I gave up and conceded the 3rd place. Thanks to the two awesome lads who played with evil weirdo in the skull mask and my mildly evil self!
We ended the day with the Rezzed Game Jam, and we had a fantastic chat with the guys from Agharta Studio, a French VR-focused game studio. We spoke about the event, Tim’s cosplay, the nature of the industry, what we thought was best, the evolution of VR technologies and much more. I wish we’d recorded it, it would’ve been an awesome podcast.
The theme for Rezzed Game Jam was games based on three pieces of news printed on The Guardian: The Jeremy Clarkson kerfuffle, The Great Terry Pratchett passing on and the Dave Miliband fuel tax or energy crisis thing. With six teams, one focused on Clarkson, one combined Clarkson and Miliband, other three focused solely on fuel thing and the last one was a sweet platformer about Pratchett. I wanted this last one to win because I’m a Pratchett fan and what they had planned for it, helping him reach heaven’s gates (where The Luggage was waiting) was very sweet. In the end, the Miliband + Clarkson Crossover took 3rd place, the Clarkson party game 2nd and one of the Miliband games took the 1st, but they’d done something really cool. The game was Miri Kiri, fake Japanese for “Miliband Cuts,” and it was a brawler where Ed and Dave competed to cut as many bills as possible. It sounds simple but they added voice recognition and when the audience cheered more bills showed up. The level of innovation and brining the audience into the game made them the right choice for the first spot.
And that was the end of my Rezzed experience. I enjoyed it very much. I got to meet a really good friend, say hi to others, meet and interview some amazing people and see so many good games! I liked the venue, though my only complaint was how much of it was closed off. The food was good and if Tim’s anything to go by, the drinks were also very tasty.
Will I hit EGX 2015 or Rezzed 2016? I sincerely hope so. I liked this a lot and I’m dying to do it all over again. And who knows, maybe I’ll do the cons like PAX or Comic-Con.
Make sure to come back for a look into all the games I saw during my days at Rezzed!