We just got home from attending PAX2007; it was exhausting, but fun!
The two of us and Nick had a booth where we were showing the XBLA version of N+. We were sort of hidden in the far-left corner of the expo floor — but luckily right next to the men’s room, ensuring lots of traffic. Nick built this awesome stand-thing that held two monitors and two Xbox360 testkits, and for three days we were on our feet, explaining what N+ was and letting people try it.. and the reaction was really positive! Our booth was a bit low-budget compared to the nearby THQ and Atari booths, but our signs and stuff turned out pretty well. Mare whipped up a classy page with some of our pictures, check it out!
Tons of people stopped to try N+; about half had played N, the other half had no idea what this weird game was all about. Usually if there was someone playing, other people would stop to check it out just because of how different-looking N+ was compared to the rest of the games there (which were mostly 3D photo-realistic-style AAA titles). It was really great to see people enjoying it, and we got a lot of positive comments about how great it is to see games that are focused on fun instead of “next-gen” stuff like shaders. It was also nice to see parents playing N+ with their children. There were a few groups of gamers who came back every day to play, that was really great to see — the first N+ addicts! The multiplayer modes were especially popular, but probably we can’t say any more about that yet..
Anyway, it was very tiring but definitely worth it; everyone was really excited about N+ coming out on XBLA. Hopefully it will sell well — but it seems impossible to predict people’s tastes, especially on a platform where the most successful game is.. UNO?!
We were also handing out all sorts of N-related goodies; we didn’t have too many so we tried to limit these to people who seemed to genuinely like the game (instead of the apathetic greedy people who just went booth-to-booth demanding free stuff). We’ll be mailing out more of this stuff to SUBLiME participants. Mare made yet another stylish page of pics, check em out!
The only somewhat disappointing part of PAX was the total lack of media attention.. curse you, Leipzig! What little blog coverage N+ has received has been focused on the DS/PSP versions that Atari is making, which is a bit frustrating since:
- we were right next to the Atari booth — you could literally watch people playing the XBLA version from their booth! And yet few bothered to saunter over and check it out.
- the XBLA version is pretty much complete, while the DS/PSP versions are pre-alpha
- the XBLA version is much more the version of N+; the proper self-published, we’re-in-total-control version!
The handheld versions should of course be great — there aren’t very many good platformers available on DS/PSP, these days the only decent platformers seem to be coming from freeware developers — but we really feel like the XBLA version is much more ours.
Also, while PAX in general was awesome, compared to the rest of the game expos we’ve been to — very few booth babes, and lots of actual gamers rather than bizdev people walking around — it still had the same “booths staffed by interns and/or morons” thing that seems endemic to game expos. People were shocked that we, the actual developers, were in attendance.. but isn’t that how it should be? Otherwise you might as well just read the press release, since that’s all that the actor(s) staffing the booth will be parroting back to you.
In other semi-tangential news, the Mega64 guys were a couple of booths away from us, but we may have scared them a bit.. we’re big fans and were hoping they might want to do some sort of promotional video for N+. That would be so awesome.
Anyway, it was really great to see people having fun with N+. We may not have gotten all that much blog-type coverage, but we did get tons of gamers super-excited about N+. We really can’t wait for it to come out!! But it won’t be for a while yet! GLARGH!!! The suspense is killing us.
In the meantime.. When we get a chance to finish it, this site will be the official new home of the N games: The Way of the Ninja. Plus, stay tuned to Metablog for more indie-gamedev-related goodness. It should only be a couple more months until we’re able to get back to working on Robotology full-time.. Hooray!