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Fantastic Arcade Recap

Fantastic Arcade was more fun than GDC (for the most part). There I said it and I meant it. The thing that I thought was great about FA was its generally cozy atmosphere. Players came and went with no fuss or hurry that you might see at something like GDC. Lines for games were relatively short, people were friendly, and the tension was low. Everyone was at FA to enjoy the games, each other’s company, and the cool opportunity to speak with devs one on one about their projects.

A young cephalopod admirer.

A young cephalopod admirer.

Keep reading for a magic carpet ride to the land of shakey faces…

Our adventure for the festival started well before it actually took place when we were getting builds of the game ready in order to show it off. Believe it or not we eliminated even more bugs for the current build and hopefully plights of getting stuck in walls and in bunk bed ladders are far and few between at this point. With a few days to go before we left the Kinect and normal builds were as ready as they’d ever be to show off. Only one more thing to do before we went to Austin…

shakyFace

Wind Surfing Faces ON

These were meant for our super cool shakey face photos that were supposed to be on our Fantastic Fest badges, but sadly our submissions got in a bit too late for registration and so they didn’t make it onto the badges. I figured there was no way we could go without sharing them with you guys though because they’re simply precious. Seth also covered his face with mayonnaise in an attempt to win best badge, but it was all in vain.

Early Thursday morning we made the trek to the airport here in Chicago to board our plane to Austin. All went well with the actual flight and we arrived about ten minutes ahead of schedule. Now I expected it to be warm in Texas, but damn. Everyone seemed to think we were pretty weird walking around almost everywhere we went while we were there. We found out only days before that our super cool Super 8 motel was about three miles out from the Highball and so we’d have to manage our way there via Austin’s “transit system”. For the most part though we just walked everywhere and ended up as melty blob people when we got to wherever it was we were going.

uMadMelt

That's actually skin.

Throughout the weekend a ton of people came by to play the game and hang out. One of the cooler things that happened during our time at FA was we found a lot of players actually took the time to explain how Octodad worked to other people who were trying to play. At some points people were actually discussing the story of Octodad and we just kind of marveled at this evil monster creation we’ve bestowed upon the public. All the feedback we received from people who played whether it was positive or negative was really great to hear. I think listening to the honest opinions of players both cemented in the fact that we’re on the right track with what we’re fixing for Octodad 2 and also just reminded us that people do still after this past year think the game is funny. Sometimes we worry that the charm will wear off, and that’s most likely because we are constantly surrounded with all things Octodad related.

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Left to Right Robin Hunicke(thatgamecompany), Matt Gilgenbach(24 Caret Games), Rowan Parker(Q-Games), Tyler Glaiel(Eyebrow Interactive)

Attending FA, showing our game or not, really reminded me why I love the community so much in the first place. Every developer and indie aficionado alike were extremely passionate about what they were doing. There was no drag in anyone’s step or attitude. Talking with other developers like the guys at Vlambeer, thatgamecompany, Haunted Temple, Polytron, and many more was for the lack of a better word fantastic. Everyone was very open in sharing their ideas or just talking about development in general. I know we definitely went home having acquired awesome feedback/lessons learned via other developer’s challenges and triumphs. It’s always great to get an outside opinion on something and it’s even better when it’s from someone who’s been through it before.

Vlambeer

Rami and JW from Vlambeer

At FA a couple of the developers were invited to present a sort of ‘Director’s Commentary’ for their game and pretty much talk about whatever they wanted. We were lucky enough to be able to be part of such a session where we talked about Octodad 1’s inception and all the trials we faced during its development. A few jokes were made and I think we ended up doing pretty well for it having only been our second panel ever.

octoPanel

Octodad once wore leopard print shoes and could walk on air.

kinectodad

We also showed off a bit of the Kinect controls.

All in all FA was an amazing experience to be had and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who can make it there next year!

– Phil