PAX East 2019 Recap

The show was a full week ago, but PAX East seems like yesterday! Jack and I are still exhausted from our travels to Boston, but I didn’t want to let too much time pass without recording our thoughts on the trip.


Day 0: The PREGAMER Show

This year’s PAX began differently than in recent years. I’ve never made it up to Boston a day early for Playcrafting’s PREGAMER party, but I’m glad I went for it this year. (The regular fee was included with our booth) Dan got a bar at the convention center hotel and covered the whole room in indie games! It was a nice way to start the show – essentially like a Spring Play esque Playcrafting event in a different city, the night before PAX East!

My strategy was to leave the iPad playing our trailer, and put our sweet MOO cards out to attract people over.

Your setup is pretty simple – two bar tables pushed together with a chair for each one, and a power strip behind you. I was next to an adult party card game (similar to Cards Against Humanity) so I don’t think the games are sorted into categories, it’s kind of a free for all. The event had a lot of people in it, but not too much traffic – meaning that I didn’t see too many people at the table as the night went on. Maybe that’s my fault for not bringing my cool Where Shadows Slumber banner? In any event, the people that played it really enjoyed it. One dude even bought it in front of me!

I got to chat with some young developers who are basically where Jack and I were at two years ago – they just graduated college and have a beautiful demo of a promising indie game, with a lot of work ahead of them.

(This wasn’t taken at PREGAMER, it’s just a sweet photo)

Next year, if you’re going to be in town for PAX anyway, you ought to at least show up to the party before the real convention begins! Also, if you happen to be at PAX but you couldn’t get a booth, this is a nice way to still represent your game and maybe get some media attention before the news storm hits.

Days 1 and 2: Showtime!

When the show began in earnest, I was shocked at how busy the event was from the moment it started. In recent years, Thursday has been a terribly slow day. Almost one of those days that makes you say “man, why does PAX even start on a Thursday anyway?” But this year Thursday felt more like a Friday, which was great!

It’s hard to quantify crowd sizes. Every year, Where Shadows Slumber has been at different spots on the show floor. (PAX East Indie Showcase in 2017, Indie MiniBooth in 2018, now Playcrafting in 2019) You don’t just want “a lot of people at the show”, but rather “a lot of people who come to your table excited about your game, eager to engage.” It would do us no good if 1,000,000 people came to PAX East but only cared about Roblox.

I can’t put it into hard numbers, but we felt busy all through the show. Tons of people remembered the game from last year’s spot at the Indie MiniBooth. A few diehards remembered the demo days, which is always heartening. And we bumped into some old friends from Stevens, too! There’s a suprising amount of them that either live in Boston or make the journey north just for PAX. The more of these shows I do, the more I look forward to just making connections with devs, industry people, journalists and old pals.

Our placement at the Playcrafting booth was perfect, too! We were facing out toward the aisle near a corner, with nothing in front of us. And since we were next to the Bose AR-cade (also run by Dan) we got a lot of spillover traffic from them, too. Jack joined the fun Thursday night, which was just in time, because I was already feeling tired. PAX East is a marathon, not a sprint!

Left to right: Jack Kelly, Kati Nawrocki, Adriano Valle, and Dan Butchko.
(I took this from the podium!)

Day 3: How Our Panel Went

Before we even had a booth at PAX East, I took the liberty of submitting a few panel ideas to the show just so we could talk about Where Shadows Slumber. This would be a special PAX, since it’s the first time our game is available on the market for sale instead of just as a demo or beta download. Some of my more selfish ideas didn’t fly, such as an entire 1 hour lecture on the greatness of our game, how beautiful it is, and how handsome the developers are. However, our panel “How Much Do Premium Games Make” was accepted!

It was scheduled for 1:30 pm on Day 3, Saturday. We didn’t get to pick the time, and I wouldn’t normally miss the busiest time of the show to do a panel, but we ended up getting a great crowd! Here’s a shot I took from the podium of them coming in:

Like lambs to the slaughter!

The panel was a fantastic success! Jack and I were joined by Dan Butchko of Playcrafting, Kati Nawrocki of Dots, and Adriano Valle of OrcPunk. (Though, to be honest, I know all of them through Playcrafting!) It was a frank and honest conversation about how difficult it is to be a premium indie game in a crowded marketplace. We talked about changes in consumer patterns, and new business models that can appeal to today’s phone gamer. The short version is that free-to-play isn’t just a “good idea” – it’s a requirement on mobile. Or… don’t focus so much on your game making money!

A line of questions… for us?!

I want to thank our fellow panelists, everyone who came to the panel, those who asked questions, and Matt our theater manager for making the event so successful! We’ve all leveled up and become “game devs who do panels sometimes” which I’m sure is just a few steps from “game devs who are incredibly successful and happy.” So close!

BONUS: I think Night 3 was when we got to try an awesome party bluffing game called Pluck Off! that is still in development. It’s a card game, so don’t expect to see it at too many video game events in the future, but if you can get a print & play it’s totally worth it. (Warning: don’t play with Jack, he’ll destroy your face)

Day 4: An Exhausted Success!

By the time Day 4 rolled around, I had basically checked out and spent most of the day collapsed in a chair in the back of the booth. This ended up being a mistake, as I actually missed a lot of people who planned to stop by the table but hadn’t scheduled a time. (Sorry people!)

We can call the weekend a success though, because we nudged so many people to buy & review our game that it brought our Apple rating up from a 4.4 to a 4.5! This may seem insignificant, but it brings us past the threshold that Apple uses when deciding which games to feature. Some games, like our muse Monument Valley, are featured at least once a week. If we climb the ranks, Apple might give us at least a feature every month. Bring on the Today tab, boys!

Me during day 4 of PAX East (Dramatization)

I don’t know about Jack, but I’m still recuperating from the weekend. I have no idea how some devs did three shows back to back in March… (This is the SXSW / GDC / PAX East Trifecta, sometimes called March Madness or dying.) I’m hoping to get back on the wagon soon though, because we have a lot of little changes to make to the build in response to your wonderful feedback. Jack and I spent the entirety of our 4 hour drive back to Hoboken planning what we can do in the short & long term to improve Where Shadows Slumber. I’m excited to put the plan into action!

Thank you to everyone who visited our table, bought our game, gave us a review, or attended our panel! You helped make a good PAX great. Wish us luck finding the energy to keep going!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Where Shadows Slumber is now available for purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store!

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.

The Playcrafting PAX East Lineup!

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for – PAX East 2019 has arrived! I’m heading up to Boston tomorrow to get ready for the PAX PREGAMER party Wednesday night, and set up for the big 4-day main event. Before I go, I wanted to give a shout out to the other games in the Playcrafting booth with us.

Our Playcrafting Booth Comrades

Here’s the latest from Playcrafting:

Congratulations to everyone else who will be at the booth with us, whether it’s for all 4 days or just a couple! I wanted to give every game a quick shout-out and a run-down of the mechanics, but there’s no time – I need to pack for Boston and get out there tomorrow by early afternoon for setup. That will have to wait until my triumphant return from the frozen north!

Thanks again to Dan Butchko for this wonderful opportunity. This is our third PAX East in a row, and we hope to keep our streak going!

See you in Boston…

…Also….

Prepare Yourselves

Look out for a real announcement next week that will be life-changing for all of us over on the Where Shadows Slumber team. Don’t sleep on this one. You won’t believe it when you read it… stay tuned to this blog for the big reveal on Monday!!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Where Shadows Slumber is now available for purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store!

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.

See You At PAX East 2019!

Hello everyone! The days are getting busier and busier and it’s getting harder to get these blogs out in time. I ought to start working on them days in advance, honestly. We’re also working on a bunch of stuff with different groups that have us under NDA, so sometimes we just can’t share what’s going on! Sorry about that.

This is just a quick post to let you know we are alive, and that we’ll be at PAX East 2019 later this month! You can come to PREGAMER (PAX East Edition), visit us on the show floor, attend our panel, or do all three if you’re a true fan. Info below…

PREGAMER PAX East Edition

When: Wednesday, 3/27 from 6pm – 11pm

Where: Laugh Boston, 425 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210

This event is free, but you need to register here!

Kick off PAX East in style with the 3rd annual PREGAMER party!

Game developers will be showing off their latest games one-on-one to a crowd of 1,000 people. For developers, this is a great opportunity to show off their games (finished or unfinished) and get direct feedback from players. For everyone else, it’s a unique opportunity to try out the biggest collection of games outside the show floor itself. Each game gets its own section as players meet the developers and try out their games. Throw finger food into the mix and let’s start “pregaming” for PAX East!

All ages welcome. ID required.

The Booth

When: All Weekend

Where: Booth Number #19135

The kind folks over at Playcrafting have generously invited us to showcase NYC’s most awesome games! We’ll be representing Where Shadows Slumber and helping our fellow New Yorkers demo their stuff. Come play the full game (until we kick you off) or interview us! You can schedule an interview by emailing me here: contact@GameRevenant.com

The Panel

When: Saturday, 3/30 from 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Where: The Arachnid Theatre, but I have no idea where that is

We’re doing a panel on “How Much Do Premium Games Really Make” which is combination of our personal stories of game development + research into others who have made their financials public. We could use your support in the crowd! Don’t throw things at us, please. To aid in our quest to rid the world of devastation, we invited some awesome NYC friends to join us. Come to our panel to see me (Frank DiCola), Jack Kelly, Dan Butchko of Playcrafting, Kati Nawrocki of ComputerLunch, and Adriano Valle of OrcPunk talk all about the state of premium mobile games!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Where Shadows Slumber is now available for purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store!

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.

Vote For Us Before The Bit Awards on Friday!

If you follow Game Revenant on social media, you’ve already seen a lot of spam this week about the Bit Awards. However, I wanted to make a quick official announcement on the blog about this contest, and what YOU can do to help.

Every year, Playcrafting hosts an award show for the indie game community in the New York City area. We’ve been to the Bit Awards at least twice now, and it’s always a fun time. You can actually buy tickets to the show here: www.thebitawards.com

Since Where Shadows Slumber was nominated for Best Mobile Design way back in 2017, we weren’t eligible for that category again this year. (But congrats to all of those nominees!)

However, they surprised us with a nomination for the Player’s Choice Award. This one works differently from the others – instead of being chosen by Playcrafting’s judges, this award is voted upon by you, the loyal fans!

…so how loyal are you?

Yeaaaah that’s right!

Vote for us by completing these simple instructions:

1. Click this link: bit.ly/VoteBit
2. Scroll down…
3. Choose “Where Shadows Slumber”
4. Enter the required info
5. Press “Submit”!

Betray our trust by completing these other, much worse, instructions:

1. Click this link: bit.ly/VoteBit
2. Scroll down…
3. Choose literally any other game, you traitor
4. Enter the required info
5. Press “Submit”!

The choice is yours! Whatever you decide, we hope you’ll come to the award show this Friday and celebrate with us anyway.

Best of luck to our competitors, and all the nominees!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Where Shadows Slumber is now available for purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store!

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.