So, um, wow. I had hoped to get this out near the start of the month, but it looks like the whole world’s on fire right now! To get some of that out of the way (I know how some of you worry), we’ve actually closed up the studio for the foreseeable future (and cancelled all upcoming event appearances) so our peeps are all working from their respective homes right now. So we’re all safe, sound, and cozy. Anyway, in lighter news, late late last month (and the start of this one) we were in good ol’ Boston again for PAX East. This time, with a twist!
I just gotta gush. This was our third PAX, and the first time we went, it was an absolutely humbling experience. Yeah, yeah, we’ve done a bunch of conventions, but PAX East is THE convention! So many people walking around; it’s like having our whole city in a place the size of an airport. That’s where all the big boys are: Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft… Double Fine, The Behemoth, Yacht Club… it’s like the New York of conventions. Then there’s little ol’ us, right in the heat of it. That first year, it felt like we didn’t actually belong; like we somehow snuck in. It was an amazing trip, though! One of my favorite stories was that not only did we have a line of people playing Collapsus, but behind them, was a line of people waiting to play, and behind them, was a line trying to see what was so exciting. Because of this, we caused a little traffic jam, and the enforcers had to come fix traffic, and lightly scold us. We look back on it jokingly, saying it was a “good problem to have”.
There was only one way it could have been better: the Indie Megabooth! Man, did those guys have it great! Professional-looking booths, tons of promotion; it’s right in the middle of the expo hall. It felt unattainable. Heck, even with our success showcasing, it felt like most of the people looking for indies were looking at the Megabooth. Like somehow, if we weren’t with them, we weren’t good enough. Silly, I know. Just being at PAX at all was huge. Plus, we know tons upon tons of amazing indies who’ve never been there, and probably never will… but from an outsider looking in, that was the place to be! The only problem is, we’d applied before, and got turned down.
It’s weird, events. Yeah, we did our first event all the way back in 2009, with a couple more after that, but let’s face it; A&G Ohio wasn’t exactly the Major Leagues… or the Minor Leagues, for that matter. Okay, okay, it was barely a vacant lot to go and play stickball in. No, our first “real” event was OGDE. That was in 2015. If you read our decade recap, you may know that we were facing some pretty hard times going into 2015. It was Steve’s idea to go out to OGDE to show off what we had. It felt like such a big deal. It felt like we were taking things to a new level. We kinda were. That was five years ago. Wow. Five years! It’s really funny; Steve got a tablecloth printed, we bought a tablet (oh yes, A tablet. Singular. One. Tablet.), and we had a dinky little TV running the trailer. We didn’t even have shirts! Okay, we had shirts; we weren’t running around topless. We didn’t have branded shirts. If you’ve seen us at any convention recently, being without branded shirts means we might as well have been naked. It’s almost cute. We put out the business cards in a grid. That was just weird. Why did we do that!? We had absolutely no clue what we were doing. But it got a bug in us (no… no… bad words… not like that… no bugs over here… everyone’s healthy). What I mean is, we wanted more. More conventions. Always bettering ourselves.
We got into Indie MEGABOOTH!
Okay, I’m probably getting a little ahead of myself. We actually knew we’d gotten in way before that. It’s kinda crazy. There were all these emails prepping for things, but we weren’t allowed to tell anyone we were in. There was a developer group online where we could chat with the other devs who got in. None of us could say anything. It was a little anxiety inducing, to say the least. But it was cool. A secret from everybody. I am not good at secrets; but somehow, I managed not to spill the beans.
Going to PAX was already a big deal. This was something completely different, though. After two years of PAX, we already knew we had a hang on everything. See, being with MEGABOOTH just meant there were more eyes on us. There was so much more traffic. Going into it, we estimated there’d be 5 or 6 times more foot traffic at our booth than there was last year or the year before. That seemed to be the perfect estimation, actually.
We had to upgrade everything. Finally seeing our goal of seeing a “big, professional booth” come to pass. Instead of our normal tiny little banner, a big full art backdrop. Instead of the 32-inch TV we brought last year, 60 inches. A brand new tablecloth, new business cards, and 10 tablets! That’s, like, adding a zero! Okay, okay, to be fair, by the end of OGDE, we added a phone to our table and for PAX this year, we only had 8 tablets out at a time, so that 2 could be used as backups; but still! Heck, the little TV we used last year was used for a trailer, while the big boi handled the multiplayer. We even got these really cute little cube-stools that looked like Collapsus blocks. Okay, so… um… about those.
I’m gonna try really hard not to name names here. Well, company names. So, we were looking at these ottomans. They were foam cubes with little slip covers that you could print whatever you wanted on them. They were… kinda out of our budget. On top of that, we drive to Boston when we go. These ottomans would just be taking up space. Normally when we pack up our booth, we use milk crates. It’s something we’re kind of known for. Other devs always look on with amusement and a bit of awe at how light we travel. Anyway, Adam suggested we just order the covers, and buy similarly-sized ottomans with storage space in them so we could use them instead of the milk crates. Great idea! Steve and I went to IKEA, picked up the ottomans; Lucas, Anthony and I assembled them; and Steve went about ordering them.
First problem: we’d initially planned to have one ottoman of each color of block. Turns out it was a minimum order of 4 with all the same printing. That’s fine; we just got covers with all the blocks on them. Next: Steve gets an email saying the shipping was delayed. Turns out they weren’t going to make it in time. After talking to the company, they agreed to expedite the shipping, and they’d arrive the night before. Okay, not too bad. Cutting it close, but not too bad. So… um… they showed up.
Yeah, that’s the University of South Carolina logo. WHAT!?! Here’s the rub: they sent a proof! I’ve seen it with my own eyes! The proof was correct! And these… these… things are what show up! The day before we roll out to PAX!
So yeah. We ended up putting the ottoman lid overtop of the cover. It was an easy “fix”, but it wasn’t optimal, to say the least. I just don’t know. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what that WAS. Anyway.
Other than that, the booth was amazing! It felt like a “real” booth. I know that any booth is a real booth, I’m just so proud of what we put together. Take a look:
Somehow, PAX was so eventful, but also I’m struggling to think of things to talk about. It was a lot of “show Collapsus to people” and “drink a lot of water”. I will give shoutouts to our good friends at Tursiops Truncatus Studios, who we shared a lovely dinner with, and Cody Starcher from Multivarious (boy, does he come up a lot in these, or what!?), who we shared lunch with. The Tursiops crew were busy showing off The Day We Fought Space, and Cody gave a wonderful panel!
Like with most events, the best parts for us were hanging out with our friends, and the joy of seeing everyone fall in love with Collapsus. Being with Indie MEGABOOTH was everything we had ever hoped for. The staff and volunteers were so friendly and helpful, and just being there put a spotlight on us that we’ve been wanting for so long. We are so grateful to have had this opportunity, and we could only hope to be a part of it again.
So, with that all being said, it’s going to be quite a while before you see any more event blog posts. So the next few are probably all going to be specifically about dev.
See you next time! Oh, and wash your hands!