Convention Collation 2018

Sep 28, 2018

Convention season is over for another year! And while I enjoy some home-cooked meals, my own bed, and a few days sat around playing games in my pants, here’s my Convention Collation of Coatsink’s 2018 world tour.

This year, Coatsink showcased a plethora of games at seven major international shows, traveling over 40,000 miles in the process. We kicked off the season in April with…

Where: Boston, USA.
Showcasing: PHOGS!, Clusterpuck 99, Shu, Augmented Empire
Miles traveled: 3,150

After shoving our gear onto a plane, we hurtled off to the charming (and cold and snowy) Boston, Massachusetts. This year we were working with the incredible team at Indie Megabooth, demoing our new releases for Nintendo Switch – Clusterpuck 99 and Shu – and were thrilled to finally bring our delightful physics-em-up PHOGS! to America.

Players packing into packed PAX

To celebrate, we had a custom PHOGS! plushie made by a talented local Bostonian, which was admired almost as much as our playable demo now making its stateside debut. Seems PAX EAST couldn’t get enough of the loveable creature… 

Creatures? Creaturai? Something. PHOGGOS!

PHOGS! paying attention to the camera

After a week of sugar, saturated fats and a brief flirtation with diabetes, we headed back to England to do the whole shebang all over again at the mighty…

When: April
Where: London, UK
Showcasing: PHOGS!, Clusterpuck 99, Shu, Augmented Empire
Miles traveled: 6,420

After PHOGS! won the Dare Academy Award which allowed them to showcase at EGX 2017, it was great to have the game back on home turf – and with a bigger showcase – this year picking up Best In Show shortlists from both Eurogamer and Rock Paper Shotgun.

Four screens, eight players

As a bonus, the lovely folk from Bit Loom (the PHOGS! developers) came along for the ride, chatting to both the gamers and press about their final vision for the game.

The devs and myself (left) kick back and chat to XBOX

After a couple weeks’ rest and trying everything in my power to shed a few America pounds, we moved onto Kyoto, Japan, this time joined by Coatsink’s Social Media and Community Manager Kalvin, to join friends old and new in the land of the rising sun.

When: May
Where: Kyoto, Japan
Showcasing: PHOGS!, Clusterpuck 99, Shu
Miles traveled: 12,350

BITSUMMIT coincided with the Japanese release of both Clusterpuck 99 and Shu. To celebrate, we teamed up with Nintendo of Japan to give everyone who played Shu a stamp in their Nintendo booklet – which they received on entry to the event – to show they checked us out.

The official Shu stamp

Meanwhile, PHOGS! was making its Eastern debut and, despite this being my second time in Japan – and having first-hand experience of kawaii culture before – I still leapt out of my skin every time a passer-by gave a high-pitched squeal of excitement at our cutesy double-headed dog. So yeah, the game went down well.

 The PHOGS! dogs and their adoring public

I returned from Japan half a stone lighter (3kg!), somewhat deaf, and entirely disappointed by the blandness of British food. On the plus side, I was exactly on time for the “Football’s coming home” hype train and managed to dig out and squeeze into my 2010 England shirt for our trip to Germany… alongside a big smug grin.

When: August
Where: Cologne, Germany
Showcasing: PHOGS!, Sub Level Zero
Miles traveled: 19,000-ish

Time for Gamescom! After a fun game of Tetris squeezing all our banners, props and equipment into a hired van, Kane (Marketing Manager), Jorden (Designer) and I (Me) began the long trek down the M1, en-route to the channel crossing, mainland Europe and Germany.

Travel hotels look a bit different on the continent

After a night in what seemed like a mini Belgian Downton Abbey, we continued on to Cologne and began the arduous process of setting up our booth in the Gamescom friends and family area. But once the show started and the public days began, both Sub Level Zero and PHOGS! seemed like a fresh of breath air to tired gamers, who were able to sit and chill with our giant PHOGS! plushie.

R&R, Gamescom-style

When: September
Where: Seattle, USA
Showcasing: PHOGS!, They Suspect Nothing
Miles traveled: Er… 25K?

No time like the present. That’s a thing people say, right? Anyway, I arrived back at my house from Gamescom (with a suitcase of dirty pants) and spent almost a whole night in my own bed before catching an early a plane bound for Seattle and PAX WEST.

They Suspect Nothing: Overclocked. 8 free new mini-games, released Summer 2018 on Oculus Go. #Plug

After landing in America and warding off the jet-lag by consuming my weight at The Cheesecake Factory, we began setup for our adoring American public. Both PHOGS! and They Suspect Nothing went down great, with the booth constantly full of grinning gamers, content creators and looming luminaries, including the inimitable Shuhei Yoshida.

Shuhei Yoshida meets the Phoggos

When: September
Where: Birmingham, UK
Miles traveled: Over 25K. Maybe 28. Who can say? Certainly not maths or Google.
Showcasing: PHOGS!, They Suspect Nothing, Sub Level Zero, Kingdom Two Crowns

Due to schedule clashes, this was the only show that I wasn’t able to attend personally (remind me to fire my PA, once I get one.) In my stead, I sent my Marketing Department partners-in-crime, Kalvin and Kane who had this to say:

 

“Get lost, Jack. Write your own blog.”

 

Oh you guys. Anyway, here are a couple of pictures showcasing our VR setup for They Suspect Nothing and our pods for Kingdom Two Crowns and PHOGS!.

Kingdom Two Crowns, developed by Coatsink partners Raw Fury

They Suspect Nothing: Overclocked. Post-setup, pre-public

When: September
Where: Tokyo, Japan
Showcasing: PHOGS!, Sub Level Zero, Kingdom Two Crowns, Gang Beasts
Miles traveled: 40K+

And so we come to our final event, and comfortably the toughest to organize: Tokyo Game Show. After teaming up with our partner developers Boneloaf (Gang Beasts) and Raw Fury (Kingdom Two Crowns), we were able to secure a prime position at one of the biggest gaming conventions in the East.

The entrance archway to Coatsink’s biggest event

To date this was the biggest set-up Coatsink has ever attempted, standing 20ft by 30ft. With the pressure on, we knew we had to deliver something special and so arranged for the construction of a glorious 20ft high by 20ft wide archway entrance to the booth.

PHOGS! and Sub-Level Zero at Tokyo Game Show

After hours of setup, we were finally able to gaze up at this surreal shrine-like structure and reflect on the hard work of every single developer who made these games a reality. What followed – a fantastic event and all the wonderful public attention – felt more like a victory lap at the end of a long and incredible journey.

I’ll be back next year with 2019’s Convention Collation… until then.

Written by:

Jack Sanderson - PR & Events Manager

A public relations and events specialist from London. Jack has run PR and events for Coatsink since 2016 and can often be found skulking around our booth(s) at conventions.

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