The Super Cool Center of Computing History
A couple of weekends ago we had the chance to go and show an early demo of Röki and give a short talk at The Center for Computing History in Cambridge.
We were invited a while back and we thought it be a good testing of the waters. Whilst we've got plenty of busy show experience from our time at Sony (E3, PlayStation Experience, GamesCom) we we didn't fancy throwing ourselves in the deep end with Röki just yet.
We were interested to see how an Adventure Game would fare at a public event. They can sometimes be less immediate than other game genres, needing time and space to absorb and soak up the experience. With so many games vying for attention, and with attendees having limited time at an crowded event, a game really needs to come out swinging and screaming to grab people's attention so we weren't sure it was the right way to show the game off.
However, we were interested to find out for ourselves, and the venue, The Computer Museum itself sealed the deal. It's a super cool place packed to the rafters (literally if you get the chance to visit the upstairs storage area which is a real Aladdin's Cave!) with old computers, ancient consoles and games galore. I've visited it a fair few times before for retro games nights, talks (last month they hosted talks from Brenda and John Romero) and also music gigs (our good buddy Mpegasus has blasted out his chip-tune music there on more than one occasion). It even has a 70's office, a room locked in time with all the decor and tech of the time, it's pretty surreal, like you're suddenly a guest star in Life On Mars with Gene Hunt. It's also in Cambridge, so just down the road for us. If you get the chance to go and check it out we'd highly recommend it, in fact you can read all about it and upcoming events here.
We've play-tested and refined the game's come mechanics and how they're tutorialised a lot over the last few months so we're pretty confident people would 'get it' but it was still kinda nerve racking to see it out in the wild for the first time! Fortunately the ground work had paid off and things went pretty smoothly (mostly). People got the controls, how to play and we're quickly off on their adventures.
The Computer Museum attracts a family audience, mostly younger then your average game show, and it was fascinating to see youngsters taking a step into the world of Röki.
One little girl liked running around as Tove so much she kept on coming back for more, guess the allure of a massive bobble hat should not be underestimated!
We also had some great suggestions on how to improve things further which from some of the other devs there which was most welcome and we're gonna try a few of their ideas on for size and see how they fit. If often nice to get feedback from people who aren't close to the game as you are, sometimes you're so close to something you can't see the woods for the trees (pun intended).
We also got the chance to do a talk entitled 'Röki: Crafting A Fairytale' to a packed room. We talked about some of the key elements that inspired us; the evolution of classic adventure games and how they evolved, the strange and appealing world of Scandinavian folklore that was the spark that initially sent our imagination racing when we were deciding what game we wanted to make, as well as the game's art direction, how and why it evolved and how working with creative restrictions can be a very good thing.
As you can see we also got the chance to bust out our fancy pants new Röki T-shirts. We'd done a couple of iterations to get the design and t-shirt quality just right so it was nice to finally put them into action.
It was also cool to get hands-on with some of the games on show from the other local devs and see what everyone else was up to, have a catch up and shoot the breeze about what we were all up to.
A final thought to end this blog-post on; the moment that made the event for me actually happened before it had even started.
I popped in to set up our kit on the Friday afternoon to make sure we were good to go. As I was running Tove around a 10 year old boy started watching over my shoulder so I passed him the pad to let him give it a quick go before I left. At the end of each section he insisting on one more section until by the end he had complete the whole 30 minute plus demo.
He placed the pad down and turned to me, to my surprise he assumed a rather serious and thoughtful expression and hit me with the following:
"I think this is going to be a great game, I can tell you've worked very hard"
Thanks 10 year-old kid, you're the best!
Until next time,
Alex and Tom