I had an opportunity this weekend to go to an event in Norfolk called Pixel Fest, and there are some highlights that I believe are worth sharing. I’m not going to bore anyone with specifics of the video game technology that was present, mainly because I don’t really know what I am talking about. However, I did want to share what I enjoyed at the event that might interest those with limited gaming interests.
First I wanted to point out that this event was held in one of the most beautiful buildings in the downtown Norfolk area. The Slover Library itself is a work of art, with a wonderful mix of modern and classic architecture. Apparently, when the event coordinators approached the library about hosting the event, they were only expecting around 100 participants. They asked for only one floor of the massive building, and to their surprise, they were approved for use of the entire facility!
Each floor was buzzing with various media and there were games for nerds of all ages. Even a button masher like myself was able to have a great time. They had stands selling t-shirts, raffles for prizes and all the individuals involved did a great job getting kids engaged in the new technology. Everything from vintage arcade games, to 3D printing, to the budding Oculus interface technology on the market now was represented at the event.
I had an opportunity to speak with one of the developers of a game that caught my eye because of the Tron-like aesthetic. It was a pre-released game called Vegas Prime Retrograde and while it was still far from being completed, it was an interesting creative concept as well as visually pleasing. We also got a chance to speak with the CEO and developer of an interactive team game where players become bridge officers on a lifelike mission to space. The game is called Starship Horizons and the developer explained that it is a game that requires each member of the group participating, to work together to survive. Their website claims it should be on the market by next year but it is still in development, so that may change.
Another interesting pre-release game that was worth mentioning is a multi-player game called Swap Fire. The graphics were pleasing and even though the controls took some time getting used to, once you got the hang of it, it was a pretty fun game. There was even a room dedicated just to strategy board games. A venue I have never personally had interest in, but I can appreciate the skills required to be successful.
We came across a notable group that I enjoyed learning about called The Steampunk Alliance of Eastern Virginia. They came out in cosplay fashion with a myriad of creatively engineered paraphernalia. The only reference I really have for this style comes straight out of BioShock Infinite and without getting too deep into the origins or the aesthetic, on a base level, I could appreciate the creativity that it takes to take something new and engineer it to look old. Plus, who doesn’t love a steampunk R2D2?
Overall I had a great time and my fiancé enjoyed the games we did get a chance to play. Personally, I am hoping that this is one of many gaming events of its kind that will come to the Hampton Roads area. Even a novice like myself can become engaged in the evolution of gaming and if the turnout at the event is any indication, I think that there is definitely a market for it here.