Okay, a couple weeks late, but here’s your Belchy Burpy Recap of Busan Indie Connect 2018!
BIC is good times for those of us based in Korea. It’s nice to have something on our home turf where we know all the good restaurants to take people too. Makes us feel important. Always fun to meet devs from all over the world. I thought the whole festival was a bit better organized this year, so a big thanks to all the people who made this happen.*
Musing on the Nature of Busan Indie Connect:
- Much like last year, Korea is a very different space than Japan or the States for these types of meetups. Indie Devs want to break into Korea, but there aren’t the big dogs here to wine and dine. In Kyoto everyone all up ons Nintendo trying to get some of that sweet plumber action like they alls in a cliche porno. Or Sony. Or Microsoft. Not really that kind of party here.**
- That being said, Korea is a big market and devs want to figure out how to get their stuff out here amongst the sea of mobile shovelware that dominates the market. I had a lot of good conversations with devs about ways to sell small scale games across East and Southeast Asia. But…
- I’m not sure BIC was really a great conduit for connecting indie devs to publishers. There were some good speakers, but I’m not sure there was any coordinated plan for getting Korea indie publishing and development on the map. I say this with some caveats:
- I’m not really privy to the business side of things, so I’m kind of burping out my rear end here. Which is to say farting.
- I’m not sure that breaking into the Korean market was actually a purpose of BIC. I think it could and should be, but maybe I’m projecting my dreams onto it.
- Ultimately, I don’t think there are any good answers. There are millions upon millions of mobile phone gamers who aren’t going to download a small scale game on Steam. If I had the answer I would share.
On What is Rad and What is Not Rad:
- Indonesia is Rad – Toge Productions brought a really solid slate of games. Each with a different focus and style. And the people I talked to were all really nice and had great insights into the gaming industry. Southeast Asia is the future, man. Lot of people with good ideas and games coming from there in the future. Get on the train.
- Dungeons are Not Rad – Believe you me there is no one more aware to the debt we owe Gygax and Arneson for creating Dungeons & Dragons oh so many years ago. Reducing fantasy to abstract numbers was incredibly important in the history of game design. That being said, and I never thought I’d say this, I’m really tired of dungeons as a setting. Find something new? I recommend… luchadores?
Some Individual Game Thoughts:
Bossgard – Awesome brawler where the gimmick is that one player controls a boss monster while the others hack at it. The devs mocked us cruelly while beating us down with a giant monster slice of bread.
Gato Roboto – The new hotness from Devolver Digital. Basically Metroid except you are a cute kitty. I can dig on that.
Just Shapes and Beats – I’m a gameplay type guy who digs sick nasty chiptunes so this game is basically for me. You and your friends are shapes and you dodge other shapes while sick nasty chiptunes play. Now on Switch!
KlangM – Slick rhythm game with great art and a cool Thunderdome theme. I think we may indeed need another hero to play this.
MagiCat – 2D platformer from Indonesia. At first glance seems real basic, but it’s remarkably well designed. There is a smoothness in the gameplay that I don’t know that I’ve seen in other platformers.
Monster Garden – Weird low stakes adventure game about monsters trying to recreate a garden of monsters out of nightmares. This is the kind of weird little gem I love finding at BICFest.
WaveCrash – Fun puzzle brawler. I could see this being a really fun party game.
RPG Time!: The Legend of Wright – Cute reproduction of games created in Junior High School notebooks. You could tell the dev wasted a lot of his youth making these things during class time. Time well spent, I’d say.
She and the Light Bearer – An adventure game out Indonesia with gorgeous art that recreates Indonesian fairy tales. One of the aforementioned great games out of Indonesia and one that I’m looking forward to spending more time with.
Sticky Bodies – From Q-Games, our gracious hosts during BITSummit, come what is basically a Terry Gilliam animation game. The world need more Monty Python themed games. Someday I’ll get on making a fish slapping dance game.
The Missing – New jam from SWERY. Creepy puzzle platformer where your protagonist much remove parts of her body to solve physics puzzle while being chased by some monster.
Wattam – I don’t even know, man. This game is weird. Fortunately I like weird things! Noby Noby boy an obvious influence. I’m going to have to play this a bit more.
*Canada apparently was a big sponsor. Who knew, eh?
**Though there were parties. Korea style. Introducing people to the cosmic horror that is Soju is always fun.