When I heard about Double Fine’s annual event for independent developers to show up to a small venue and show off their projects I was instantly sold. In theory, the idea that small developers get the chance to have a personal chat with fans about their creation is a home run of an idea. Luckily they brought the big guns out for this years event and offered one of the most fun events I’ve been to this year.
Day of The Devs takes place at The Midway in San Fransisco and offers a range of experiences from a multitude of talented individuals and studios alike with this year including promising new titles along with some more notable titles like Tetris Effect, Spelunky 2, and(surprisingly enough) Kingdom Hearts 3.
Now one of the issues that we had last year when attending the event was simply signing in to receive our badges as they had no idea where to allocate the press but this year they seemed to go above and beyond with registration and sign ins for everyone and for that I will always be grateful.
The location itself is still something to gripe a bit about. It is located in a small venue but has an overabundance of exhibitions to explore so some games spill into the hallways causing a bit of a traffic jam just about everywhere you go. Some rooms are also pretty small minus the large hall that can facilitate a few hundred people but it doesn’t stop fans from jumping in line so at times it gets a little claustrophobic.
NOT TO MENTION the addition of Kingdom Hearts 3’s presence at the show. With only a whopping total of one screen for dozens of fans it seemed as though they would be waiting the entire show to play for 10 minutes which felt a little disheartening and I couldn’t help but wonder who made the decision to have just one demo booth.
I would have much rather kept this title away as it diverts the focus from celebrating independent achievement and rather creates a sideshow for those who are attending to just play Kingdom Hearts 3.
Talking to the developers is an absolute treat at this event and will keep me going to future shows. A lot of the developers at Day of the Devs are incredibly down to earth and are there for the feedback from fans and I had a blast talking to a handful of them. A few notable games that I got to chat about with developers were Untitled Paper RPG by Adam Robinson-Yu, Consume Me by Jenny Jiao Hsia and AP Tomson, and Ikenfell by Chevy Ray. Each of these developers were at their booths chatting it up about their projects, inspirations, goals, and ideas with fans and it really puts it in perspective why Day of the Devs is so special.
And that’s not to say there wasn’t more to offer, with around 70 other games to play it would have been hard to complete every demo and talk to every developer. Some games were deceptively complex like Killer Queen Black, some were just full of dumb fun like Untitled Goose Game, and some were unique competitive experiences like Sloppy Forgeries.
On top of the musical performances, sponsorships, food trucks, and exclusive merch Day of the Devs from Double Fine offers one of the most unique and intimate demo experiences out there.