It's cold and gloomy in Newent today; my mood, despite a healthy breakfast and a generous first cup o' java, is quickly heading the way of the weather; even Ziggy the dog, usually as bouncy as a Tigger played at x1.5 speed, rests his scruffy chin on the chair arm and sighs. I'm languishing not so much with the FOMO ("Fear of Missing Out") as the IAMO ("I actually missed out").
Despite being in one of the closest hotels to the UK Games Expo - with (allegedly) many of the exhibitors and celebs - there was never anyone I recognized in the Hotel Bar area for open gaming in the evenings.
I couldn't make it to any of the seminars/podcast records except the Who Dares Rolls one and that was seriously in danger of the panelists and crew outnumbering the audience - indeed, I had sort-of hoped that The Dice Tower episode immediately afterwards might have spurred some folks to join our event to ensure they had the best seats; as it transpired, we actually had a couple walk out after five minutes because the language got awfully fruity, awfully quickly...and, for once, I was trying to be the sensible one in the room: fail to prepare then prepare to fail.
At a show debuting our new product we were only allowed 50% of the copies to sell and saw several retailers - who were bunged the other 50% - undercut our prices: this led to some internet grumbling that I was somehow scalping the public. And some tosser tried to profit by putting his copy in the bring-and-buy.
I've seen a number of videos and photo albums of the weekend and none of them mention Surprised Stare Games at all - not even in passing; this continues quite a melancholy trend of our little enterprise - 20 years in the biz and every-year-ever exhibitors at the show - finding it hard to get arrested (except by our good pals who have blogs, vlogs and pods).
The much-vaunted Cup Final Football beer-fest and shout-a-thon (Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur) turned out to be a squib so damp you'd think you were watching it with Sebastian the fucking Lobster and Flounder the pissing fish*.
Despite the hundreds of reviewers and content providers mingling with the great unwashed, we saw barely a handful stop by at the stand (though I did see more scuttle by ne'er making eye-contact). On ground that couldn't be any more 'home', it's depressing to feel so isolated. Not for the first time in the last few years, I am questioning the worth of being there at all.
Next year we're planning to release at least two games and like to launch in our own Country's biggest do if at all possible; right now, however, the black clouds spattering the Library room window with fat drops and my pessimistic mood pressing my temples like a too-small hat, I think "What's the bloody point?" and that I'd rather hold off until Spiel 2020 instead.
We'd also save nearly £1300 on the cost of the hotel alone.
*there's a CBeebies pitch right there
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer.
- [+] Dice rolls