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Mediaman’s Adventures at TwitchCon 2016

Before I get started on this article, I want to make sure I thank Twitch for the invite. So far, it has been a great experience. As someone who is creator of content, it is great to meet so many creative people. Not only did I meet gamers, but also musicians, comedians and all kinds of artistic people. This is a place overflowing with creativity!

The best part of all of this is for the most part, people are really friendly. It feels like a community of passionate gamers and artists. At first I thought this was going to be a place where streamers where just going to pat each other on the back. There is some of that, but it really is so much more.

When I first got the invite, I wasn’t even sure if I fit in. I run a website and do Let’s Plays on YouTube. I do stream on Twitch every once and a while, but certainly not at the level of many of the Twitch partners, so I really wasn’t sure I would fit in. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

There are differences in what I do and Pro Twitch streamers do, obviously. It is the similarities that build and bond the creators. The creativity that many of these Streamers and Indie Developers have, and most of all the passion, is contagious. I couldn’t do what I do without a passion to drive me forward and I saw the same passion in the streamers I met along with their fans. I got to meet a lot of streamers and creators at all different levels, some just starting out and others that were very well established. I also got to meet a lot of great developers of games and software (there is some real exciting stuff coming soon), as well as a few guys that made some really cool hardware. I will be sharing with you, on this very site, a lot of the interviews that I did during Twitch.con. For now I just want to share the experience as a whole. In case you didn’t know, Twitch.con ran from Friday 9/30 – Sunday 10/2. I actually arrived on Thursday the 29th to attend an Amazon game release party, so I will start there.

Thursday – 9/29

So, my nephew Jeremy (from Mithical Entertainment) and I arrived at the Amazon party about a half hour before it started. They let us in on time (around 6 p.m.) and ushered us into a really nice hallway, where we were given all kinds of  appetizers and free drinks. There were waiters roaming around and offering a different variety of appetizers all night. They also handed out t-shirts for an upcoming game called Breakaway, more on that in a bit. Once they got everyone in, they had us grab seats in a rather large theater. I looked up from my very close seat and saw a count down. While I was waiting, I got to meet a lot of Streamers who where waiting excitedly for this big reveal. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, so I was a bit more reserved. After a while they announced three games: New World, Crucible and Breakaway.

The first game shown was New Worlds. It looks like it’s an open world, sandbox type game. My hopes are high for this game as I love open world games like Fallout and the Elder Scrolls series. The video will tell you all about it. As soon as i can get my hands on it, I will let you guys know my impressions.

The next game that was revealed was Crucible, a 12v12 last-man-standing, class-based game. There are times where you need to band together with other players, but ultimately it’s each gamer for themselves.

The last game revealed, and the one Amazon was really promoting, was a game called Breakaway. the game they gave us t-shirts for. My first thought was Overwatch, but third person. Once I got hands on it, I realized it was a bit more like an arena-based shooter mixed with Rocket League. The important thing is, it was a lot of fun. This game is made for multiplayer and I can see it becoming a huge hit in the streaming, esports arena. The video below will show the first match and explain a bit more about the game.

So all in all the party/reveal was quite fun, and judging from the reaction of the crowd, Breakaway should be a huge staple in the Twitch/esports arena.

That was it for Thursday, time to head home and get some rest.

Friday 9/30

Friday morning we arrived around 10. They let Media in the expo hall and I had some time to look around before my first interview. The expo area was huge. This is where all the developers were. So I headed to my first interview with Thunder Lotus Games. They developed the excellent and gorgeous Jotun (review in process). Before we even started the interview they had me play their new game Sundered. This is a hand drawn Metroid/Castlevania-style game. The platforming was spot on. The graphics were incredible. The whole game just screamed quality!

Once I finished my play-through I got to talk with the developer, who seemed as excited as I was. There was a definite passion about what he was doing.

After my first interview I met up with Jeremy and we headed off to score some merchandise. The line was huge and moving slow, so I took advantage of the time and got to meet some more great people. They gave us cards to write down what we wanted once we got through the line and were ready to pay. I felt the process took too long, but again, I didn’t mind as I had some really great conversations while waiting.

After getting my merch and grabbing a quick bite, it was off to interview the fine folks at Tiny Build. They are the developers of Clustertruck and Guts and Glory. They also publish several games. They led me into a truck where they showed me a new game that at the time hadn’t been announced. The game is called Hello Neighbor and I had a great time playing it. I will be doing a review as well as Let’s Play. The basic premise is that you are trying to sneak into someone’s house without getting caught. This is an  oversimplification of the plot, of course, but check out the soon-to-be-released interview.

 

My next stop was Team 17, which is made up of a bunch of ex – Banjo Kazoiee people. Yes, I am talking about the fantastic N64 platformer from Rare. I came to see Yooka Laylee, one of my most anticipated games coming in the near future. I got some hands-on time, and I can honestly say it feels like a modernized version of Banjo. Any platform fan can tell you that there is a certain feel to a really good platformer. You pick it up and don’t have to think so much about the controls. This game had that certain magic.  I will be playing and reviewing this in the future.

My very last interview of the day was with Dustin from Hyper X. I have always been a fan of Hyper X as a brand. They make some excellent headphones at reasonable prices. They make other hardware as well (RAM, keyboards, all kinds of stuff). Dustin was very personable and really took his time to explain the differences between the various headsets. I will be reviewing The new Hyper X headset called Stinger as soon as I run it through its paces. I will tell you that it is very impressive for a headset, especially at the $50 price point.

Next, it was time for a quick bite and then head over to the Hyper X party. We got there early because they were giving out the Stinger headsets to the first 200 people in line, so we showed up at 5pm – a full hour before the party. It was just me and my nephew for about a half an hour. They let us in and it looked like a small exclusive underground club.  They had an open bar and dancing. It was a good time even though I mostly drank straight Coca-Cola. I got to meet more great people and relax.

Time to head home to prepare for day 2. I grabbed my headset and called a Lyft driver and got home to get some beauty rest (which didn’t work; I am no prettier then I was before).

Saturday 10/1

My very first meeting was at 9:30am. Unfortunately they wouldn’t let us in until 10am. So I texted my first interview to let them know. Thankfully they were very gracious and moved it up a half hour. The very first meeting of the day was Black Shell Media, an indie game publishing and marketing company. I won’t go into great detail in this article for any of the developers/publishers, simply because there will be separate write-ups from the interviews I got from them. I will say that I had a lot of fun interviewing and playing some multiplayer games with my new friend, Raghav Mathur, who is the co-founder of Black Shell Media. I will be posting a full interview and write-up for this company really soon.

My next interview was going to be for the mobile MOBA Vainglory, but by the time I arrived the place was swamped and they were having a tournament. They couldn’t find the person I was supposed to interview and when they did the person had to go home sick. Not real smooth, but everyone I met was real nice and they did give me a t-shirt, so there’s that. The game itself is a great looking and playing MOBA on handheld devices. It would look right at home on PC or consoles. Vainglory has become one of my favorite tablet games. It’s just a solid, well-done game.

So, I hung out, played some games and enjoyed the atmosphere. After a while, I headed to an interview with a company called Infiniscene. What they do is create better broadcasting software, for those of us who maybe frustrated with OBS or other companies. I interviewed with Stu Grubbs and he was very personable and patient with my many questions. I will post the full interview which will be a lot more in-depth.

It was time to get dinner and prepare for the TwitchCon party. The party happened at a baseball stadium, for good reason. A lot of people showed up. This was after all the last party of the convention, and was not quite as exclusive as the other parties. Before the party officially started there was a League of Legends competition between pros. It was fun to watch them play on the big screen. After that, the regular party attenders were separated from the VIP’s. I won’t go into detail about that.  Let’s just say that if you can, try to get into the VIP section. They had a concert and people had a good time.

Sunday 10/2

My first interview was with a company I have been a fan of for a long while: Trion Worlds, the creators of the excellent free-to-play MMO Rift: it has a beautiful world and great gameplay, all free. While I was waiting, I got to check out some other titles like Trove and Atlas Reactor.  They even gave me a latte while I waited. When I finally sat down and talked to them, they gave me quite a bit of their time. Again, this will be up on the site very soon. It was a great interview and it was evident that they love what they do.

After I finished my Trion interview, I hadn’t scheduled anymore interviews, so I decided to walk the floor and ask for on-the-spot interviews. I’d been told that I really ne,eded to go talk to Liquid Sky, so I did. Boy, was I glad I did. Liquid Sky is basically a PC in the cloud. You get a subscription and can play any game with their beefy PCs. I have yet to try it, so I will let you know how it works, but I can tell you, the technology is sound. This would allow you to play any game on any device, and the best thing about it is you don’t have to re-buy the games you already have. It supports Steam, Origins, Uplay and any game you already have on your PC. Again, I haven’t tried it yet, but I will and update once I have some time invested.

While walking around the expo floor, I noticed a game that looked a lot like Banner Saga, so I had to check it out, the game was Masquerada and it was brilliant. The game is developed by a company called Witching Hour Studios. I played a prequel to the actual story and the twist was unexpected, to say the least. It has great voice acting, beautiful art, and fun combat.  I can’t wait. I will also have a full interview up for these guys soon.

I noticed an area that had a bunch of tablets set up with a game they were saying was inspired by Advanced Wars. I loved that game on the DS, so of course I had to check it out. It was brilliant and I knew I had to interview the developer. TSuper Sensohe game is  and the developer is Turbo Studios. If you like Advanced Wars at all, you need to check this game out. I will have impressions as well, in the meantime, stay tuned for the full interview.

As I continued to walk the show floor, I noticed a very bright colorful game. Right under the screen was a stack of t-shirts. Being the outgoing person I am, I went up and asked “How do you get one of those shirts?” The reply was, “Simply play our game.” So I sat down and was soon joined by their Marketing/PR Rep and we played some co-op dungeon exploring, hack and slash. It was so incredibly fun!

I asked for an interview with Toylogic on the spot and the rep introduced me to the Assistant Producer of the game, Javier Pazos Sugranes. Part way through the interview we were joined by the Producer, Yoshiya Nishii. What followed was a really fun interview about their game and history. In case you are wondering, this is the spiritual successor to Happy Wars. The difference is that Happy Wars was made for online PVP and this game is made for couch co-op. I will also have the review/interview up for this one very soon. In the meantime, check it out for yourself. If you have an XB1, its completely free.

Once I finished the interview with Toy Logic, I made a beeline for the Shadow Warriors 2 booth. I loved the first one and when I went hands-on with the sequel, well it somehow got better. This is a fun action packed FPS, where you wield a sword and gun. The game is gorgeous. The physics are great and it’s actually quite funny.

Once I started the interview, I could see where the sense of humor came from. It was a really fun and at the same time informative interview. I will have an interview up as well as some game play very soon. They were kind enough to give me a review copy, so it won’t be long.

Several times I passed an area where I saw people putting on shirts, form teams, put on VR headsets and compete against each other. I was intrigued but at the same time a bit nervous. At this point, I had not yet tried Virtual Reality, so I was concerned I might get motion sickness. I finally convinced myself that I needed to try it. I am sure glad I did.

I did not feel any motion sickness at all and it was a ton of fun. The game is called World War Toons (created by Reloaded Studios) and it’s an arena style multiplayer shoot-em-up. The difference is that it is very cartoony and family friendly.  The power ups ranged from exploding chickens to rockets you can ride. It will come out in VR and non-VR versions. The coolest thing about it is whether you have VR or not, you can play against each other. So if your friend has VR and you don’t, you can still play against him. I though that was really cool. There are more details in the interview, so look for that soon.

The last game I am going to talk about in this article is a game called Elex. It is a very open-world action RPG by THQ Nordic and Piranha Bytes. This is the same company that made the Gothic series. I got some hands-on time and it looked even bigger then the previous games, which is saying a lot. I really enjoyed the demo and the interview, and I can’t wait to give the full game a shot.

 

There were so many other amazing games, I feel like I need a week to really be able to try everything. It was an amazing experience. Whether you follow Twitch religiously or love indie games and all around creative people, TwitchCon really delivered. The creativity and the passion of the Twitch community and the Devs was inspiring. I can’t wait for next year. Hope to see you there!

 

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