Herein we share the details of our trip to PAX Prime!
Thursday, August 29th — Steve, Jessica and I drove to Chicago, then flew to Seattle, and immediately went to check out the booth during setup.
Just walking into the convention center, I had a feeling like we had completed some kind of pilgrimage. The signage, booths, new tech, the handful of giddy people; everything looked glorious. (Of course, this was my first PAX, so I might have been a little over-excited!)
We installed the demo to see how it would look on the one of the gorgeous laptops at the Intel booth, and within moments Lilly Looking Through had the attention of a small crowd of people. Pretty awesome considering the convention hadn’t even started!
After, we walked straight to the 2013 Intel Level Up Game Demo Contest party. Over wonderful food and drink, we reunited with Christian Piccolo, one of our extremely talented environment painters, met up with our fellow contest winners, as well as talked to Intel’s Senior Product Planner, Matt Ployhar. Bas Zalmstra from Abbey Games was also there, a super nice guy, all the way from the Netherlands! His team’s game, Reus, looks incredible; can’t wait to check out the full game!
A bit jet-lagged, we walked back to our rental car after the party. On the way, we spied Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid and the soon-to-be-released title The Witness, casually sitting in the front lobby of the main convention center, nodding at people as they went by. We stopped to say hello, and it began to sink in how wonderful PAX can be.
Friday, August 30th — On our first day of PAX, it seemed right to start off the conference by checking out Peter Molyneux’s PAX-opening story time. He talked about Godus. It is an incredibly ambitious idea. He’s an amazing speaker – his ideas visionary, as always.
We walked the main exhibition space, and were floored by all of the activity and energy. So much going on, so very many people. It was crazy! Given the more relaxed pace of Lilly, it became apparent from touring around that our demo was probably better suited to be shown exactly where it was over in the PC Area, where everything seemed to be just a shade less intense!
Later we had our first shot at being able to share Lilly with the attendees at PAX, and it was great. There’s something very special about watching people play a game you helped put together, particularly when you’ve got a parent like Ben Snortum and his wife, motioning to their child and saying “Oh yeah, this’ll be right up his alley.” (Ben wrote more about his experience here, on his very cool blog!) We got a lot of really good feedback, gave out some cute Lilly pins and T-Shirts, and met some really fantastic people that day.
What I guess I would call the currently active “core” team reunited that night as well, as our own Mark DeForest drove over to PAX to hang out with Steve, Jessica and I. It was great to meet somebody I consider to be an idol, (the guy worked on the original Myst, come on!) even if I’ve seen him many times on Skype. He looks less like a video in person. 😉
Saturday, August 31st — On Saturday we got to see the GeekDad/GeekMom talk, and listened to some great dialogue about being a geek and (potentially) raising a geek child. After the event, we met Jonathan Liu, a writer for GeekDad who noticed our game a long time ago, and recently followed-up with an article about our Greenlight campaign. His photo tour of PAX Prime 2013 included a picture of all of us together, and some kind words! You can probably imagine our surprise when Ben, the dad we had met the previous evening, walked out of the same talk proudly wearing the Lilly Looking Through shirt he had picked up from our booth the night before! He was one of three people that we saw that day, spreading the word! Thanks to all of you, it is sometimes hard to get noticed as an Indie, and we are very grateful for your attention.
Sunday, September 1st — Steve and I got to try out the Oculus Rift on our third morning, and thought it was amazing. Notable mind-blowing moments included looking down and realizing my avatar was a woman… and later, I turned into a bird creature so that I could fly into the sky. Without the Oculus Rift, pretty cool, but with it — being able to soar upwards and look down around you at the shrinking tree-tops — truly jaw-dropping. Special thanks to the makers of Wander for the preview!
We had a number of couples check out the demo on Sunday; individuals seem to be the most focused, but people working in pairs are sharing the experience together. I saw one couple split onto two laptops so that they could both play. My favorite reaction of the day was from a young man who said “Oh, but that’s beautiful!” His surprise was genuine, and it felt like we had exceeded his expectations, which is always nice! 🙂
Monday, September 2nd — Jessica attended a breakfast for women in gaming. It’s great to have a strong female protagonist in one’s game, thus Jessica (and Lilly!) got the attention of a lot of interested female gamers! GameOnGirl.com also did an interview with Steve and Jessica.
I should have tried to get more names, but we had another great father/son visit on Monday. The boy stood perched on his dad’s bent leg, so that his child’s tiny hand could reach far enough to grip the mouse… at least until I figured out that a chair would probably be helpful! The boy was young, but his mouse-clicking skills rivaled kids twice his age!
That night we took a red-eye flight back to Chicago and drove home, alternately sleeping and talking about what a great adventure we shared at PAX Prime 2013! We owe Intel, Valve and the 2013 Level Up Demo Contest judges a big thanks for choosing Lilly Looking Through! It was particularly great to be able to tell everybody that if they wanted to try the demo they could find it on Steam, parked right next to the spot where the full game will be available, November 1st! Thanks for reading!