2016 SXSW Video Game Expo!

SXSW 2016! What a great time!

It’s been a little while since I blogged, but I recently had my first South by Southwest (SXSW) experience, and I had to share! Although SXSW started as more of a music festival, nowadays there’s just about anything you could imagine, there. I was sure to check out plenty of music, and I even caught an unannounced performance by Bob Mould, but since I translate video games, I made sure to go to the video game expo as well. It was a lot of fun, and now I’m here to tell a little about it.

As opposed to the music gear expo – which really didn’t have much to show – the video game expo had a lot to offer. There were booths for educational programs, a NASA booth, a Star Wars photo booth, table top games, toys and, of course, booths to test out soon-to-be-released games. That’s what I focused on. There was a good mix of mobile app video games and console games. I tried out a couple games that weren’t that great, so they will go unnamed, but I also tried 3 that I really think need announcing:

Loud On Planet X

Burly Men a Sea

Song of the Deep

First, Loud on Planet X. I played this game on an iPad. The concept is simple. It’s like a mix of Missile Command and Rock Band/Guitar Hero. You have a band. They play on a stage. The four members are under attack by alien creatures. You have to tap the screen/button to the beat of the music to defend the stage. There are power ups in the form of pedals, amplifiers, etc. that help you fight the enemies back. It’s easy to play and the music, well, the music is great. The developers chose some really awesome indie music to play along to – Metz, Tegan and Sara, Metric, et al. There’s lot of fun to be had here. Check it out when the game becomes available.

Next, Burly Men at Sea. I also tried this game on an iPad. To play, you drag your finger across the screen to lead the three characters on their journey. There really isn’t any direction, you’re just suddenly in a place and you have to explore. In a way, it reminds of Myst in that there is no direction and you have to look for clues to advance through the game. I didn’t play too far into this game, but I have to say that I really liked the music and the aesthetic. It’s very well done. Very entertaining.

Lastly, Song of the Deep. I played this on a PC with an X-Box style controller. It took me a while to be able to try it because the stations were constantly occupied by other people playing it. And once I played, I understood why. This game is awesome. It’s got it all: graphics, music, atmosphere, playability, it’s all there! I’m already hooked, and I only played for 15-20 minutes, which is all I was allowed because there were people waiting! I could have easily kept playing for a while, needless to say.

Aside from those three games, there were also two games I didn’t get to try that also got my attention:

Tokyo Ghoul

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows

These games look cool, especially Masquerada. The Tokyo Ghoul promotional material online is kind of lacking, but Masquerada provides plenty of information to get a feel for what the game is like. I am very excited about these two games, too.

In addition to testing out upcoming games, the expo also had cosplay and a free arcade room with lots of cool old-school games like Mortal Kombat, Galaga, Street Fighter and more. I wish I could have played there, too, but the room was jam packed! I guess that’s what good games do!

I’m including a photo gallery with this post. Enjoy photos of some of the games and scenery from the game expo!

Happy gaming!

JS