One month ago marked the beginning of Too Many Games and the first time I’ve attended it. Now, I am excited to tell you all about my first experience there. Of course, I was nervous. Not only was this my first time at this particular con but this is also my first time at any convention as press.
Too Many Games was held in the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA, and ran from Friday, June 24th to Sunday, June 26th. I’d never been to the Expo center and it’s almost a hidden secret, but all I had to do was follow the traffic and I found it fairly easily.
Immediately upon entering, I was greeted by the friendliest con staff that I’d ever met. Ushering me to where I needed to get my badge and then into the gaming room.
This was a magical room. Filled with TV’s, chairs and arcade games, nearly wall to wall. It was a thing of beauty. I saw Nintendo, Super Nintendo, GameCube, Sega and so many more systems hooked up. There were flickering screens with childhood titles inviting me to sit down and relive so many memories.
Of course, I stopped to play a few games, but what caught my interest were the music games towards the back, located just before the entrance to the tournament area of the gaming room. If music met whack-a-mole, this is what you’d have and I loved every second of it. There were several of these, most names I had never heard of and, of course, DDR was there in at least two different spaces.
This was a gamer mecca that I was proud to be a part of. From the sounds of the games to the hum of chatter to the rotating DJ’s in the corner, the noise was a choir of all the things I loved. At the same time, though, nothing was so loud you couldn’t have a conversation. I adored the adorable handheld lounge off to the side, furnished by Yogibo, where players were invited to sit and game in absolute comfort. I knew I’d never get up again if I sat down. I also loved that Save Point was there to fix any games as they malfunctioned or broke. I noticed that some didn’t last the whole weekend, but I knew they were being played constantly since I walked in on Friday.
Next to the game room was the concert hall, complete with stage, chairs, awesome lighting and a tech booth. Several bands played, along with a few DJ’s. They all sounded amazing, but I didn’t stop in for more than a moment at a time. There was so much to see and a lot of people to talk to.
I spent the majority of my time on the merchant floor, which was large and lead into the guest booths, developers area and gaming tables. I didn’t spend a lot of time at the gaming tables, but I did chat with the people running it, Sunmesa Events. I had never stopped in a gaming area at a con, so this was new to me. I love the concept. You pick a game, drop your ID with them and go play. It’s an awesome concept I wish I saw at more places. There were a few games I knew and so many I’d never heard of. I am still sad I didn’t get a chance to play the huge Settlers of Catan they had set up, but alas, I had a job to do. Sunmesa Events also handled all the non-video game tournaments, such as Magic: The Gathering, Love Letter and more.
The vendors were abundant and so very, very tempting. The treasures that I would have bought if I had the money… I’d have room for nothing else. I was interested to see so many of the vendors were selling old school videos games. Of course, this wasn’t shocking, but I am used to seeing one or two at a convention. This being my first gaming convention, though, I was floored. Not only was it beautiful, but it was also inspiring.
I also saw an array of board games. There were some vendors who had the typical or ‘traditional’ board games for sale, but I, of course, ooohed and ahhhed over the new school of board games and names I’d never seen before. The vendor array was simply incredible. I enjoyed each and every table. If I had the time to have talked to every vendor there, I would have, but alas, I did not.
So let’s talk about where I spent the majority of my time: the developers floor. I loved every minute of it. So let me tell you about all the new friends we made there!
First, I would like to talk about Eye 4 Games, who were on the merchant floor. They’re amazing developers that we were lucky to meet. They currently have two games out: Clairvoyance and AlakaSLAM. Both games have amazing concepts and I cannot wait to get my hands on them. They were showing demos of Rise of the Robotariat, their newest game that just finished their Kickstarter campaign (at time of publication). They’ve made their goal and I seriously can’t wait to play it.
Ghostcrab Games was there with a demo of their beautiful video game Hastilude, Intergalactic Combat League, which I had the pleasure of playing. It is a beautiful combination joust/smash brothers type game that looked polished and ready to go. The controls were smooth, the art is bright and it looks all around amazing. Best of all, it was a lot of fun to play! I look forward to the finished product. Keep it on your watch list!
Heavy Key Studios was a delight. We got to play their game Blind Blades, a 4 player game that’s difficult to explain, easy to learn and hard to master. The result of a 120 Game Jam lead to something absolutely stunning. The simplicity makes it so complex. Follow me yet? No? Well maybe you should go check it out for yourself. I also found out they have a mobile game, Rocket Rambler. I recorded some footage of it for my next mobile gaming video.
Hyper Galaxy Studios was the first booth I came to and The Specimen was the first game I got my hands on. It’s a platformer with a compelling concept and delightful artwork. I am horrible at platformers, but I had a blast learning the game and playing the demo. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
I sat down with Silverclutch Games and played the demo for their tabletop game Beneath Nexus. I could gush over this game. The artwork, concept and ease of play is all elegantly done. I enjoyed every moment of the game play, which reminded me in several aspects of some of my favorite games. This game is easily worth every penny, and it isn’t even complete yet! However, you can buy a print to play version on their site for $5. I cannot wait to add this to my growing collection of games. Simply magnificent.
Coda Games brought their demo for Liege and it was simply the most attractive video game there. I didn’t sit down to play the demo, but Mike Wells did and he raved about it. I stopped and talked to the developer for a moment to tell him how impressed I was, graphicly, with the game. It looked ready to play and I wanted to sit in front of it for hours and give it my full attention. It’s an RPG with a tactical core. I’ve never wanted to play a tactical RPG more than I do right now. It reminded me of Final Fantasy Tactics, but so much better. This game looks ready to deliver!
As I walked past the table for Nine Kingdoms, a tabletop game caught my eye: apocalypZe. I love my zombies and a zombie survival game is right up my alley. Turn that into a strategy card game and you have my undivided attention. Not only are you surviving against the zombie hoards, but you also have to fight it out against other people. I was sad that I didn’t have time to do a full play of the game, but I am happy I got to meet the developers and hear about another entertaining game that I just have to add to my collection. I can’t wait to see what it has to offer. They were also showing Titans of Empyrean and Keep Calm. Keep Calm is a refreshing and hilarious alternative to Cards Against Humanity.
As I was talking to someone, I ran into a friend and watched his daughter sit down and play the video game, Treasure Adventure World. We watched her play, completely enthralled as she controlled a girl who moved about this fantasy world, solving puzzles. She really had to think outside of the box and even outside of the puzzle she was currently working on. It has an adorable art style and great approach.
I got to sit back and watch a game called The Trap House by Hive Mind Studios. It was a demo available to play, but I wanted to watch the others who were playing. It’s an 8-bit top down party brawler with different game modes. It’s right up my alley because it is up to eight players and it definitely has a horror theme. My first thought was, this will be great to play during Gaming Against Sobriety. Unfortunately, it lacks online play at this time. They did tell me that they are working on online play, which will make the game all the more awesome. The price is currently $14.99.
One of the few mobile games I sat and played was Heroes Guard, The Journal. I love the concept: choose your own story with strategic card combat. The story I played was interesting, but since my time was limited, I skimmed a lot so I could get further into the experience. The card combat was well done but the artwork wasn’t what I was expecting. I was looking for something more refined. I spoke with one of the writers, and he explained a lot of the game to us and what they are working on currently. Heroes Guard is available in the app store.
I was simply thrilled and overwhelmed with the amount of game developers I was able to talk to and games I was able to play. I have a lot to look forward to and a lot to purchase in the future.
I did get to meet The Completionist, Brentlefloss and The Nostalgia Critic (totally fan-girled; he was SUPER sweet). I also finally meet Uncle Yo in person, who was amazing enough to give me an interview. I also got to see Noah and Laura of Plus 2 Comedy and Pretty Nerdy Things, respectively. I made a handful of new friends, was able to personally thank Justin for having us there and had an amazing time.
I definitely suggest you all go next year, if you can. It was amazing and I am grateful for the opportunity. And am hopeful we will be welcomed back next year and that we see you there.