When my CEO came to me with the opportunity to hang out at Power of Play in Bellevue, I was very excited, but also mostly curious. As a former (and entirely reformed) fashion designer who is new to the world of games, my adventure into digital landscapes has been accidentally pretty immersive. I’ve stumbled my way into a Seattle social scene comprised of AAA studio 3D designers and concept artists, and suddenly I’m thinking about the design of game mechanics and how textures repeat over a 3D form about 100% more than I ever have in my life.
Power of Play, presented by Washington Interactive Network, is a day of knowledge exchange about everything surrounding the indie gaming community. Bellevue, being somewhat the epicenter of Seattle’s gaming hub with companies like Microsoft and Bungee nearby, is the obvious choice of venues and the Meydenbauer Center the perfect refuge on a rainy day. When the Seattle weather is being very typical where else is there better to escape than a VR game demo?
I was a bit early to the party and the crowd was sparse so I headed to the demo room to take advantage of the thin crowd. The games represented were super diverse content-wise and spanned the gamut from desktop to mobile to virtual reality. The first one that caught my eye was Lords of New York by Lunchtime Studios. I'm definitely the type of game player that's driven by aesthetics and a deeply immersive story. The game itself has a super diverse cast of characters all modeled after 1920’s prohibition-era personalities, which really allowed me to delve into my Jenny Diver fantasy. The game features poker predominantly, and really appeals to the part of me that fantasizes about smoking a cigar in a wood-paneled room.
The second game that really struck me was called Tiny Bubbles by Pine Street Code Wrks. Tiny Bubbles is not only beautiful aesthetically, but it’s incredibly relaxing to play. There was a moment in 2014 where I had a serious Candy Crush addiction and I still carry some deep shame from this period in my life, but there was no better way to spend a cramped subway ride to Brooklyn after a day of trying to match yarn colors. This game is better, like way better. It’s color palette is bright yet desaturated, and it’s animations are muted and soft. It also features a wiggly fish that winds its way through the puzzle, inflating bubbles with colors to expand the puzzle. I’m really looking forward to long commutes with this game.
In short, Power of Play was very inspirational. I’ve never imagined myself wondering if I could make my own game, but seeing a bunch of indie-gaming geniuses in the same room talking shop and trading secrets made my brain buzz. Maybe I can make my own game?
I won’t hold my breath, but I’m still dreaming about creating a digital runway experience through VR inspired by the color palette in Tiny Bubbles.
Jennifer Spriggs, StratuCore Visual UX Designer @jennlspriggs