With this post I would like to summarize some thoughts about my experience at the the Tokyo Game Show this year.
Tokyo Game Show 2022
Koa: A Gluttonous Wizard was presented for 4 days (2 business days and 2 public days) at the Tokyo Game Show. The game was selected for the Indie Game Area which is a special area at the event that showcases the work of around 80 independent game developers and it’s sponsored by: Sony Interactive Entertainment, Nintendo, Kodansha Game Creators’ Lab, iGi indie Game incubator and ELSA Japan.
We had a space (booth) to show our games at the event and also got support in other areas such as dedicated page on Steam, the opportunity borrow all the necessary devices (monitor, PC, etc) to focus on the presentation. For me this was incredibly helpful, especially because it’s very important to have a big screen for players and people around to get interested about the game.
Although the demo shown at the event was a very small and limited, the main goal with that version of the game was to give players a clear taste of what the gameplay is about and introduce them to the core concept and mechanics. Also to evaluate whether there was any genuine interest in the game and how people would react to the overall experience.
This also worked great for playtesting and to help identify issues with the current design of the game. One of the things I wanted to test the most was how far could people go without having to really explain anything with words or text; the majority of players quickly understood how to play and one of the recurrent comments was: “it’s easy to pick up but gets interesting/challenging after a while”.
One of the things that people liked the most was how platforms are distributed on the screen when they move and they don’t necessarily match the position of their respective key on the keyboard. I will try to leverage this specific mechanic more when designing new levels.
Difficulty was another important topic, I could easily see that there are several things that need to be adjusted to create a more engaging and interesting experience.
Merch & Flyers
For this event, we gave away stickers, buttons and key-holders to players and also to those who were just passing by the booth and were interested in the game. People in general were really excited to receive something, especially after playing.
As for the flyers, it’s the first time I make them. In the past, with Cosmic Defenders and Fluff Eaters, I’ve made other stuff like postcards or book-markers but this is the first time I include flyers. I’ve always thought that flyers are not very effective in general because people end up just putting them in a trash can or easily forget about them. However, this is the only physical event I’m planning to be part of and I thought many people were going to attend so I gave them a try.
Results-wise, I still don’t know whether flyers work or not but I do know that they need to have enough information to be useful. I made a mistake by not including enough information about the game, people ended up wanting to know more and some of them came but not everybody, so i think this was one of the biggest takeaways this time.
Maybe with enough and good information, an interesting design and a clear call to action, flyers might be useful to let people know about the game and possibly arouse enough interest to either search more about it or go to the booth at give it a try.
Nothing Stops Gaming
I’ve already posted a lot of things on social media about the TGS these past days but didn’t want to move on without formally writing something to close it.
I felt that so far this was my best Tokyo Game Show and also the event with best results overall. I still don’t know how impactful will the TGS be on Koa’s sales, downloads, etc but the experience was great.
The amount of support we got from organizers and sponsors was incredible. The feedback that players gave when playing is crucial to improve and deliver a much higher quality game. The exposure through the event’s channels and all the things I learned are really worth it.
Hope I have the opportunity to be part of the Tokyo Game Show again in the future.