April 15th and 16th we had the opportunity to cover an event that was new to the city of Portland. It had never been done here before and that is sort of surprising. A convention where creators, artists, developers, media, and gamers can join together and celebrate the industry. BetaCon 2017 felt like a genuine success by my measurement. It felt good to be in on the ground level of something that I feel should already be big in Portland. Yet, here we are in 2017 and this is something new that hasn't been established here until now. We just happened to be very lucky and at the right place at the right time. During our visit, we had a privileged "peek under the hood" of many different games in development on varying platforms.
We saw everything from struggling studios who were trying to find a foothold in an unforgiving industry, to established veteran developers displaying new wares. This event wasn't about the games as much as it was about the industry though. Which happened to be my favorite reason to be there. This wasn't a "who's making the best game contest". This was about support, networking, and community in an industry that can be very difficult to thrive in. It made me realize the importance and appreciation we should have for everyone working towards diffcult goals in the gaming industry. The seas are rough at times. Very rough. For one weekend, everyone joined each other and shared progress. Feedback was encouraged both good and bad.
This was a great event to take notice of accomplishments and test the temperature of the overall health of many projects. Some were there to display games. Some were there to sell goods. Others were there to participate in video game tournaments in the hopes of being crowned the champion. There were several speakers and "Ted" style talks that we had the opportunity to listen to as well. Artists scattered across the floor under the fluorescent lights quietly swiped and pecked with tablets creating what could be a new sprite or graphic for an upcoming Indie game. In the next area, people move like strange robots donning VR headgear as a crowd watches from a safe distance away on a monitor. In the distance the thundering songs from a dance game can be heard echoing across the floor. It was certainly a sight and sound to behold.
It truly felt like the community here has had a thirst for something like this for quite a while and this was some of that precious water we've all needed. It's always amazing to see the talent that's right here in our town. It was quite amazing to find out that some of the most provocative and creative work (by my judgment and opinion) was from my very own neighborhood. The pool is a lot deeper than I imagined, but it is Portland and so my suspicion was always there. This city never ceases to amaze me. I guess I can't really say I'm that surprised. It's quite satisfying to know so much talent resides right here.at home. It establishes a sense of pride for me. We very much enjoyed our time at BetaCon this year, and were happy to have met so many like-minded people. It's been a long time coming. We're certainly glad BetaCon is here and we appreciate the invite to come out and cover the event. We plan on doing anything we can to get BetaCon to stay. For that weekend, it felt more like home.
Shout Outs and Thanks (featured in some pictures):
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