On a calendar, PAX East was not that long ago. Yet it feels like ages since we've had the big events that usually fill summers. COVID-19 has taken everything online, but this weekend, one event is bringing back a little bit of that showfloor feel.
The Indie Arena Booth is a free digital event partnered with the fully online Gamescom 2020, and it's got a pretty unique twist. 185 indie games are on showcase in their own virtual booths, which you can actually walk around in and interact with, all built using an editor tool build by Super Crowd Entertainment.
The result is something akin to the social MMO's of the early 00's, where you can make an avatar, walk around, chat and hang out with other users, while exploring the many, many booths. It's totally possible to walk up to a booth, play a demo, and maybe even find out the developer is hanging out in the chat.
Publishers like Fellow Traveller, Finji, Raw Fury, Daedalic Entertainment, and more are all in attendance as well, rounding out the massive map of booths and demos. There are also links out to various Discords and other places where you can continue talking to folks you meet.
This year has been a very uncertain time, especially for events that have had to close down due to COVID-19 concerns. The move to online has been surprisingly smooth, but even so, it's nice to have a little reminder of the showfloor experience. Wandering around and stumbling upon a game you've never heard of is one of my favorite parts of any gaming convention, and in Indie Arena Booth, I can get at least some of that back.
The event runs from now through Aug. 30, 2020. You can sign up and explore it yourself at the Indie Booth Arena site.