A 5th of BitSummit: An International View of Indie Games from Japan

We went to BitSummit in Kyoto, Japan!

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BitSummit was awesome! Seeing this convention was a big event for me, personally. I had always wanted to go ever since I heard of its existence, and when I found out it was happening soon, I made sure that I made some time in my schedule to make it out to Kyoto from Osaka. I even filmed as much of it as I could, and we made our first video for our new YouTube channel, as seen above.


We were greeted at the entrance by this wonderful banner!

The event cost 2000 yen for a weekend pass, but since we were students we received a 50% discount (scoreee!) and this gave us access to a massive room filled with flashing lights and colorful booths. It reminded me of going to the school science fair as a kid, except more techy and way cooler.


Of course I saved the best for first, which is this giant PS4 controller you could actually use to play Parappa the Rapper, which was the first PlayStation game I ever played as a child.
VA-11 Hall-A, a game about a Dystopian future where you are the bartender listening into the lives of the remarkable people who visit. I picked this one up because I absolutely love the detailed pixel art characters, and it’s also quite engaging.
Indie Mega Booth

I. F. O., a very nostalgic, entertaining jet fighter game.  


Zombie Tokyo, an easy to play and enjoyable mobile game where you dodge zombies and collect coins, with multiple playable characters.

Iconoclasts. We didn’t get to play it, but it looks like a great game with some pixel art I can admire.

I also managed to see some great gameplay of CrossCode.
Brave Earth: Prologue reminds me of old Castlevania titles, which I am a fan of. It took me a minute to realize this was essentially Suda51.

Riverbond looked great as well!


Earth Atlantis was one of Colton’s favorite, as mentioned in our video above.


As a pixel artist, Owlboy was a game I had to see. Looks great!

I had a chance to play Save Me, Mr. Taco! and it was quite a fun platforming romp done in the style of the original Game Boy.  I had my eye on this one sine I saw it on BitSummit’s Website due to the cute promo art! Very clever execution and cute, nostalgic graphics.

One Shot, a very cute puzzle game

Playism booth showing a few games including Read Only Memories
Might Gun Volt Burst

 

We had a great time sampling the games at BitSummit this year. Unfortunately, there were still many games we wanted to play but always were occupied, and we couldn’t sit still to wait while there were other games to explore.  We even saw some friends exhibiting that we had met from some game developer meetups in Kyoto, so it was quite fun to see the games they had been working so hard on in action with plenty of new eyes getting to try them.  At the end of the day I snagged a T-shirt (they glow in the dark!) and a wooden button pin. We definitely plan on going again if we can manage it, but for now we have our eyes set on Tokyo Game Show in September…

See you guys there!

Cherry

How We Threw Away Everything We Ever Loved but Never Needed to Travel Abroad

It’s official. We’re going to Japan… but we can’t bring our stuff.


Including our CDs.

But we can’t live without our music!  What about our retro games, and our Pokémon?!!

Spoiler Alert: Only one of these things I originally packed actually made it to Japan with us. Can you guess what it was?

It was my hat. The straw looking thing shoved in the upper right corner of our suitcase. I actually need that for when we go hiking. Nothing else was needed.  Now some of these things we left with friends and family to store away. Not much though, because we respect the space of the people that we know. Thank the Nines that technology exists, because we were able to keep our music and disc based games in one way…

Uploading all those bitches to my computer

We even used the empty CD binders for our video games after we discarded the jewel cases, maximizing our space.  We ended up with three trash bags full of boxes and backed up CDs with virtually nothing lost but plastic. It took me three days of passively changing CDs as I went about my business, but it was a win/win on the minimalist scale… but not everything is so easily stored.


I mailed off my Scott Pilgrim collection to a friend

I threw away all of the boxes for my Cloud Strife figurine collection. These are my favorite three, so I snapped a picture first. The figures themselves I let a friend store for us.

We sold our car that took us all over the US West Coast


I said goodbye to this old tupperware that used to hold all my toys. I wrote my name on it 21 years ago, when I was only five.


Who needs all these dumb side tables? Goodwill.

We snuggled Buster one last time before he went off to live with a close friend. I still miss this pup more than ever.

We even sold off a vast majority of our Genesis and Super Nintendo games. Do you know the only thing I miss?

It’s my dog.

I still beat myself up a little for not trying harder, not listening to the advice against him, not taking that extra step to find a foreigner friendly apartment that was also pet friendly… but I can’t say that we regret our decision. Buster loves my friends, and he is treated well. I saved him the stress of a long plane flight, the required quarantine period, being a suburban dog in an unfamiliar city, with new smells he can’t explore. I can now travel without finding a dog sitter and I don’t have to worry about him fighting every cat he sees, which there are plenty roaming around Osaka.  I sure do miss him though and I can’t wait to visit him again.

So for all of you wanting to come to Japan, or go anywhere for that matter, these are my words of advice: forget about your things. You won’t miss them.  You will, however, miss the love of your friends and your family and your pets. Cherish the time you have. Take plenty of pictures. Don’t be afraid to cry if you need to.  Just know that you can always buy another bookshelf, another car, another Super Nintendo… but not another Buster.

Get ready to find out what really matters in your life. It’s a wonderful, bittersweet, beautiful feeling.

Safe Travels,

Cherry

PAX South, and Working in the Growing Louisiana Indie Scene

Welcome home from PAXSouth 2017, energized fans and tired devs!

Colton and I weren’t able to make it this year.  Oops. With our big move to Osaka it proved to be a bit troublesome, but Necroball, a game we spent the last year working on with King Crow Studios, got all polished up and reappeared, so I figured I would recap on our visit from 2016.

A quick introduction on how I started working on games from an area not well known for game development: in 2002, Louisiana legislature passed a tax incentive for technology media and entertainment in order to help bolster the state’s economy.  Here’s some dated articles from Forbes and Fortune about it, but I can say that during some of my visits to Baton Rouge we had a chance to meet some folks who were working on American Horror Story and developers who had worked on beloved retro games such as Boogerman and A Bard’s Tale.  Louisiana is getting the Hollywood treatment, as movies such as 10 Cloverfield Lane (starring one of my favorite actresses, Mary Elizabeth Winstead) had a setting that was just outside of Lake Charles. As for games, we have an EA in Baton Rouge and a Gameloft in New Orleans, as well as a healthy mix of independent developers, so there is certainly growth. This is really something special around here, you’ll know it to be true if you’ve ever been to Louisiana.


In all cases, you are driving over this lake to get to the next city.
Welcome to the swamp. There’s not much to do.

Colton and I were lucky enough to work outside of an indie development incubator called the Level Up Lab, which is where we had the chance to work with and meet some inspiring figures in the industry. This gave us the wonderful opportunity to attend a PAX, and my first time and we were demoing a game that I had worked on, so this was a pretty excellent double whammy off the bucket list… I think I may have a high luck stat or something. Here’s some photos of our 2016 PAX set up:

 I made some necromancer jokes because I animated the dead
An awesome promotional display of Quest of Souls illustrated by none other than my friend and fellow Lake Charles local, comic artist Johnny Segura III.
I took a few blurry pictures of cosplayers I met.
Since I am quite shy around cosplayers, so that also means miserable photos. It’s like meeting Mickey Mouse as a kid and then screaming as you forget basic skills. This cosplayer goes by Inkling girl!
I like this costume. I don’t even know what character this is. Freedom Planet? Just kidding… 
we talked to almost a thousand cool people all weekend! 

Did anyone see us last year at PAXSouth or our Necroball display this year? Did you take photos? I’d love to see them.

Thanks for reading!


Cherry

Necroball Launch!

So for the bulk of last year I had the awesome opportunity to test my skills as an artist, as Colton and I worked on two games with King Crow Studios, one for game called Necroball, connected to another named Quest of Souls. Today I am excited to announce that as recently as of today, 1/10/2017, @ 12am Central Time (US), Necroball is now available on Steam!

It’s like graveyard Foosball with a dash of tower defense, with 4 playable characters.  It’s meant to be played cooperatively and can get hella competitive (from what I witnessed watching playtesters at PAXSouth 2016).  We demoed Necroball originally as a mini-game to Quest of Souls, which is still in development.  We beefed it up a bit by adding some new minions, play mechanics, achievements and playable characters, with more content as it phases out of Early Access.

Here’s a gif I cobbled together of Brunhilde from Quest of Souls.
She also makes an appearance in Necroball!

You can play the demo for Quest of Souls (as well as a primitive version of Necroball) for free on Steam

Check out Necroball Here!

Thanks to all that supported us during the dev cycle!

Cherry
P.S.- Today is also my little sis’s 14th Birthday! Happy Birthday Sam!! ^0^

 

Ludum Dare 37

Last month I participated in my second Ludum Dare, a weekend game creation challenge based off of a loose theme.

This run’s theme is One Room, so I worked with another small indie team in Louisiana, Raconteur Games (creators of games such as Close Order and Evangeline) on our one room game and we had a real blast creating it.

It’s a short story featuring a shop keep named Sam who lives in a town obsessed with death, building their own tombs throughout their lives.


A mock-up favorite I created. Unfortunately, it’s not real dialogue.

We had a lot of fun creating this one. It’s more of a graphic novel, but we did win some points for coolness! Check out our entry here:
The Tomb

I love participating in Ludum Dare.  If you are looking for an artist for an upcoming Ludum Dare, feel free to contact me on Twitter. I’m usually happy to join if I am free.

Thanks for reading,

Cherry

“What is 8-Bit City?” & Chasing the Retro Dream

I quit my dead-end job and traveled the U.S. looking for a perfect place to relocate. The journey turned into a passion.

I am an artist. I paint, sew, draw, animate, design, and imagine. I love retro games because I watched the technology grow with me, and I associate entire years with what games I played, as well as a love for reinterpreting limited graphics with my art. Because of this I have an interest in gaming memorabilia, as well as a modest collection of retro games.

 I currently live in Lake Charles, Louisiana with my husband and frequent co-worker, Colton, and my 5-year old Boston Terrier, Buster. Colton and I both share a passion for gaming nostalgia, technology, art, food and travel. Sometimes it even dictates our life decisions and destinations, hence the name, 8-Bit City. It’s everywhere I want to go.

Early Logo Concept

I was only supposed to live in Lake Charles for two years, but I stayed for 8. The city itself has a small town feel and a Louisiana charm that sits you down in front of a big, steaming ice chest full of boiled red creatures called “Mud Bugs”, hands you a large plastic tray and a Bud Light (or a glass of sweet tea if you’re “the one not drinkin'”), and swears themselves silly before inviting you to church in the morning. What I’m trying to say, is that the people here are pretty unique and possibly mad as hatters. Also, for some reason I married one of them because I just happened to like those Mud Bugs. I decided to settle down here as there was a nice Play n’ Trade selling a few old games and an old Arcade where I could get my retro fix. Well, eventually the mad hatters nix’ed them and now both of them are gone. I was devastated. So now it’s time for greener pastures.

After I made sure that I bagged a good one that can make me some cajun food on the road, we started slow by taking yearly trips home to my St. Louis suburb to sate my low-resolution hunger.


nice try self, but no ginger

In St. Louis we have these amazing used game and hobby stores called Slackers.  New games, old games, comics, movies, collectibles, CD, DVD, Blu-Ray… They have EVERYTHING.


Even Wonder Woman. 

So the Slackers chain is one of my favorite things about St. Louis. I’ve been buying rare retro games and systems from them for years, and the quality is always great (they actually work)! Colton and I always save up for this part of the trip and come home with caches of retro games. I bought my copy of Secret of Mana here, as well as gaggles of games I never thought I’d see again that I loved as a kid. You can even browse Slacker’s merchandise and buy from them online. The St. Louis area is pretty retro-collector friendly. If you are ever in town, be sure to check out Vintage Vinyl in neighboring University City. They don’t sell video games but they have an amazing selection of Vinyl and CD and are known to have many indie and local performances, as well as complimentary stickers at the check out. I always take a few and stick them all over everything!


here’s one on my CD binder

It was kind of funny because I originally wanted to relocate due to the climate and poor shopping and entertainment options in my city, and even as things are starting to look up now, I still feel myself yearning for adventure. Due to a few tragedies in my husband’s family and distance I have from mine, we realized that we had little holding us back from going wherever we wanted. Over the span of 2 years we took many roadtrips across the west, looking for a place to relocate. We went to Portland, Seattle, Denver, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, So. Cal, El Paso, Oklahoma City, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and even stopped in many others.  In Beaverton (just outside of Portland) there was a pretty nifty second hand game store called Retro Game Trader.

This beauty

This Super Mario 3 themed pixel art map of the area really impressed me!

If you happen to follow this blog I will write about my favorite retro-gaming destinations during my travels. To any readers, are there any awesome retro gaming attractions in your city or town? I don’t buy as much as I used to these days but I would love to make a future must-see destination list.

Love-Peace-Retro,


Cherry