GX3 is one heck of an event filled with panels every single hour. Still, there’s much more in store for attendees then those panels. You see, there’s also an exhibit hall filled with items to buy and even new and upcoming games to try out! I’m going to be honest here: Last year’s expo hall really felt lacking. With that said, most of the conferences and conventions I attend are absolutely massive in scale (ex: E3 and Anime Expo). As such, my perspective is most certainly warped on what makes a “good” size shopping area.
Luckily, I’m glad to report that this year’s hall was not only larger but much more interesting. This time around there were many more exhibitors sharing their wide variety of wares. As with last year, there were a great deal of comic-based booths but you could also find plush, t-shirts, fanart posters, keychains, and a whole bunch of other cute goodies. Thus far I already had to grab myself a new card case to stash my business cards in. There’s definitely some other items I’m planning to go back and by before the show concludes.
Where things get interesting is the inclusion of a multitude of indie game booths within the expo hall. Yes, attendees of GaymerX2 will recall that there were indie games both inside and outside the exhibit hall last year too. Somehow, it just didn’t feel as expansive as it does this year (although the actual number of booths may be the same). In any case, it was especially exciting to see how much crowdfunding-related stuff was on display.
The first crowdfunding title I noticed was Super Slam Dunk Touchdown! Sure, it actually didn’t succeed on Kickstarter but the game has continued with steady development regardless. This is exactly the kind of story I love to hear when a project fails to be funded. For the unaware, this is a title that meshes together all sorts of sports into one horrifying and hilarious new sport. Then there were items such as softback copies of Chainmail Bikini, an awesome gaming comic anthology. That Kickstarter did succeed (and quite well).
GX3 convention-goers even got a taste of some exclusives. Here’s a totally non-gaming related example. The Young Protectors is a gay superhero webcomic which funded a hardcopy of Volume 1 on Kickstarter. Even though copies aren’t meant to launch until next year, they received the okay from their backers to bring early copies of the comic to the convention!
I never expected to see crowdfunding to become such a huge part of the landscape at conventions, but it’s definitely becoming the case. E3 revealed much the same to me, as I continuously was going up to indie developer booths and saying “hey, you were on Kickstarter, right?” There are even more projects that have booths at GX3 and were crowdfunded, but this is just a taste of what the expo hall is like. It’s great fun to know that crowdfunding has become a large enough force that many content creators are able to realize their dreams with the help of backers.