Growing up outside of Austin in a small town I often found an oasis in Film and Video Games. Watching Arnold annihilate bad guys as Conan the Barbarian is unforgettable. Playing Tetris and Castlevania on the original nintendo, just as… unforgettable. Never in my years would I imagine playing countless video games on a number of systems, going to the University of Texas, being introduced to Austin, graduating, moving to NY, moving back to Austin, getting married, and finally after all that going to my first SXSW show just a few days ago. Why did I wait this long?!?!
SXSW Interactive was an experience I wish I would have attended much earlier. Sitting in and listening to the Developers of Gears of War Judgment talk about their upcoming game was amazing. Talking with the minds behind the sound in Tomb Raider, equally great. I have always said I wanted to create a Video Game blog and get big, just so I could go to E3. Never knowing I had a little mini E3 in my backyard. The best part, it’s free.
I don’t have any previous experience in any other conferences, this was my first. I can say without a doubt that I will be back year after year and I couldn’t have asked for a better “first time.”
The Interactive section of SXSW this year featured indie developers from Austin as well as San Francisco and more. The games they’re creating for mobile devices and the arcade side of console gaming, look to be a great way to kill time wherever you are. From strategy based games that you can play on your browser, to puzzles, and more, this year will be full of possibilities to just game.
Most of my time at the conference was spent sitting at the Geek Stage taking in the latest from comics, to the future of games, the upcoming Gear Of War game, and how Tomb Raider found it’s sound. For all those who listen to Gamers1st podcast then you’ll get to hear about everything I experienced. For anyone reading this article, I thought I would share some highlights.
GOW Judgement looks to be bringing back everything we love from the series with an emphasis on intensity. They hope to have your “palms sweating” and “knuckles white” in both the campaign and multiplayer. Through adding “tower defense” sections in the single player, new modes that mimic that of King of the hill in multiplayer, and adding Free for all, GOW Judgment, looks to be making that idea a reality. Judgement is certainly shaping up to be a solid entry in the long running series. I look forward to playing it in the coming weeks.
Sound in video games doesn’t get the credit it deserves. That is exactly what I got from Tomb Raiders conference, on how they used music to aid in telling Lara Croft’s emotional story. This was one of the best moments for me throughout the conference. Learning how they created an 8ft contraption that created the unique sounds in TR was eye opening. The device itself was oddly beautiful. Everything was covered during their forty five minute conference, from how they wanted to make you feel alienated and alone, to how they introduced simple techniques when you needed to feel comfortable and aware. Truly an entertaining and great little lesson in game sound design.
Outside of the Geek stage I dabbled in some games hitting the free to play market. Hawken looks to be something for every mech lover. I am not one of those, so playing just one round was enough to let me know this game will be great for anyone looking to go to war against other mechs online.
The standout for me was Loadout. A free to play game from Edge of Reality. This game was a blast, I waited numerous times in line to get multiple play throughs and each time rocked. With a style that feels like Team Fortress, only crazier, and the opportunity to customize and create to your hearts desires. I can say without hesitation, I look forward to spending countless hours with this one in the near future.
Eventually my time with the Interactive section of SXSW came to an early, albeit sad close. I was able to spend a section of my weekend immersed in something I had never experienced before, which is insane seeing how I blog about games and am madly in love with them, but nevertheless it was my first time and great one at that. I look forward to attending as many conferences I can from here on out and waiting another year to do it all again at SXSW.