Last month marked our first public showing of To-tum, we got an exhibition space as part of the Radio 1 Academy showcase alongside fellow local indies. This expo was part of the Academy’s warm-up workshops and showcases in Norwich in the lead up to the Radio 1 Big Weekend, which happened at the end of May. Doug and I manned the stand whilst Shaun was there in his ‘artistic capacity’ giving demos of his photoshop skills to a ‘live audience’. You can see some of the other awesome activities R1 organised for the event on this poster:
The expo was a lot of fun, and it was the perfect start to us showing our game to the public – not an easy thing to do, when the success of your game lies in the balance! We had a steady stream of players for the game, with Doug and I running it on mobiles in true indie style! But here’s the amazing thing, every person who picked up the game and played it, smiled. That was what really made it special for us, was that even though the game is still rough around the edges, and we had to reset the game in-between plays, they seemed to really like it! I had people ignoring me whilst I was talking to them, because they were too engrossed in the game – a true compliment! (Either that, or I’m really not that interesting to listen to!!)
One of the reasons we wanted to showcase the game, even though it was still rough, was that we wanted to make sure that people enjoyed playing it. It is far too easy for a team to develop a game, spend months polishing it, only to find that the core thing that appealed to players at the beginning, was no longer there. Luckily our players at the expo really ‘got’ the game and after the controls were demonstrated, picked it up nicely.
We had a real range of players from 14 year olds just starting to get interested in game development, right up to 40-somethings which had been helping with the organisation of the event. I hate to highlight this, as it should not need highlighting in an ideal world, but many of the most interested players, asking how the game was made, were girls and women. This really made my heart warm, as it is great to see that with each new generation of potential game developers, stereotypes and discrimination is starting to peter out, more parents are opening up to the idea of their kids one-day becoming game developers, and that is a great thing for the industry.
That was something I really tried to highlight through the Norwich Gaming Festival in the month previous to the R1 Expo. Helping parents learn more about game development as a career, about the education and opportunities available to their children through talks and workshops. We as the Insert Imagination team really believe that games are for everyone, and can be made by anyone, and we hope that as To-Tum continues to grow and develop, that it will be a game that can be enjoyed by all.
Thank you for reading (It’s my first post on here!) and hope you can take a moment to look us up on Twitter and say Hi – because we’d love to hear from you
PS – Doug took this flattering image of me when we were testing out the roller banner!