After Vienna it was time to hit another beautiful city: Amsterdam! Just look at those wonderful old buildings right at the water’s edge..
Anyhow we were not only there to drink coffee and beer at nice locations. We were part of the Indie Prize Showcase with close to 100 Indies at the Casual Connect. This took place right in the middle of the city at Beurs van Berlage (the dark red building right across the water in the picture above): A majestic building in front of Amsterdam central station. Apart from indies there were lots of gaming related companies and to round things up there were various talks on all three days. On the evening before the first conference day there was a small introduction party, which was quite handy to get the networking started and speed up the entry the next day, since you could already pick up your badge. We started our first exhibition day with a relaxing coffee on the way to the fair. Since there was only a very small exhibition space for each game and we wanted to focus on networking, this time we kept our booth simple and clean.
We were located on a cosy corner with Blockadillo, Swapquest and TRI as our neighbours. On the opposite side we had the Skip a Beat team, which was crazy enough to launch their heart rate game during the Casual Connect (way to go!). The ambience was nice and relaxing. Free coffee and a free lunch packet, which was better than what I eat at work sometimes, did the rest for a good convention. Only the number of ad and monetization companies was a bit high, but since nobody forces you to speak to those or buy anything, I didn’t see a problem with that. The parties ended right at midnight or shortly after – I still don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing. It seems to be an Amsterdam thing anyway, since we had similar problems with finding a nice place to mingle afterwards. The official big party on Thursday deserves a special mention for successfully combining a dance club with multiplayer versus games (my Speedrunner ego still hurts a bit from the final rounds – but it was probably only the drinks that kept me from winning in the end). Our nightly strolls through the city also deserve a special mention in form of a photo.
I didn’t go to many of the presentations but the ones I saw were good (some about the Asian market, death animations, community, apps for hardcore pc games, unity ad stuff). To give you an impression, here is a photo of the apps for hardcore pc games talk. Not only because this one opened a new chapter of the market in my head and I hope some other people’s heads too, but also because it took place in an amazing room that made the talk seem like a sermon.
To bring everything to a good end we celebrated with great beer together with old and new indie friends, after playing Jenga in the red light district. Can I recommend it? Would I do it again? Definitely!