KingsIsle visits the SXSW Gaming Expo
On March 13, 2015 KingsIsle’s Community and Social Media team went downtown for the afternoon to check out the scene at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Gaming Expo in Austin, Texas.
The weather outside was perfect, but the real action was inside the Palmer Events Center in Downtown Austin where a ton of booths and “geek” entertainment could be found!
By the north entrance was a competitive gaming stage where players from around the world were competing for $20,000. By the south entrance there was a “Geek Stage” where there was always some kind of panel of guests talking about comic books, video games, cosplay, and gaming technology. In the middle was a huge area for playing board games, surrounded by vendors selling snacks and fun T-shirts. Upstairs were rows and rows of computers and gaming systems (both old and new) to keep expo goers playing games and having fun.
Here’s what Tom, Leala, and Julia all had to say about their favorite parts of the afternoon:
I loved attending the Expo this year. For me my favorite parts would, first, be all the people I met (or saw) at the event and, second, the Competitive Gaming stage. It was my pleasure to meet Justin Burnham, the organizer for the event, and hear from him exactly how big the expo had grown over the past few years. Even more surreal was seeing Markiplier (of YouTube fame and the gaming emcee for the event) wander past us with lunch in his hands and asking Justin to help him find a quiet place to eat! Beyond that, it was just awesome to feed off the energy of the up and coming developers who were in attendance showing off their games in person. There was a lot of innovation being showed off that I was truly impressed with.
Before we headed down to the Expo, I spent a few minutes watching the live Twitch Stream of the Tournament Stage at the SXSW Gaming Expo. Then when I arrived and watched it in person, I just sat back in amazement at the skill these players were demonstrating. It made me think how awesome it would be to someday see our Wizard101 PvP players in some kind of competitive gaming match where all could watch.
This was my first time to attend the SXSW Gaming Expo and overall I was very impressed. The fact that the event is free and for all ages makes it very accessible to lots of gamers, which I think is great. I enjoyed the variety of the indie game section of the show floor, but my favorite part of the expo was the gaming history museum and free-play area. It was like an interactive history lesson, and a bit of a nostalgia trip too!
The free-play room on the second floor of the expo had games lined all around the outer wall. Each one had a different game and console set-up so you could start with the Atari, then move to the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis and so on, all the way to the current generation of games. I had fun playing a bit of Frogger on the Atari, even though my skills at road-crossing are super rusty! Julia and I also had a rousing tournament of the fighting game, Tekken, on the original PlayStation. I used to be pretty good at button-mashing, but I was no match for Julia’s skills. I’ve never had so much fun getting absolutely trounced at a game before!
Going into the SXSW Gaming Expo, I had no idea what to expect. It was the first time I’ve been to anything of the sort, and it was a cool experience just to see the event in action. I was impressed to hear that people had traveled from all over to be in attendance or to host a table. One of the games we saw had come from Toronto, Canada!
My favorite part of the event was upstairs. There was a “History of Gaming” room set up with consoles from throughout the years, starting with an Atari Gaming Console. Of course I have seen pictures and heard about the Atari system, but I’ve never had the chance to see one in person or to play on one. We sat down and each tried our luck at Frogger, which I can’t say I was great at. But then we made our way down to a more recent console where Leala and I went head-to-head in a PlayStation Tekken tournament. I really had no idea what I was doing, so my plan of action was to hit random buttons as fast as I could. I crushed Leala over and over and by the end of our couple of matches, I was in tears of laughter. It was a great way to spend the day and learn a little more about a part of the gaming industry that I had not yet had the chance to see.
We hope to see you at next year’s SXSW Gaming Expo! Who knows?! You may even see us manning our own booth next year where you could come by and say hello. Would you be interested in attending if you knew KingsIsle would have a presence there?