I adore the adventure genre in all its formats. From falling in love with the classic point-and-clicks and playing text games as a child, to finding visual novels and getting engrossed in walking simulators as an adult, it’s always going to hold a special place in my heart.
That explains why I’ve been so keen to go to AdventureX in London for a long time now. This is the UK’s only convention dedicated to narrative-driven gaming and brings together people who have a passion for interactive storytelling; and since becoming a ticketed event a couple of years back, it has sold out incredibly quickly. Fortunately, we were quick enough to get our hands on tickets back in the summer and so we headed to The British Library last weekend to see what it was all about.
Although I’ve been going to EGX and Rezzed since 2012, I’ve been to very few conventions. My only experiences have with MCM Comic Con, where I recently volunteered for SpecialEffect, and with Kitacon in 2017 which unfortunately didn’t go according to plan due to a missing-cat-related incident. What I’ve learnt from them however is that expos and conventions are two very different beasts in terms of both atmosphere and content. We therefore didn’t know what to expect as we walked through the doors to AdventureX.
It reminded me somewhat of the events I attend for work but, instead of talking about IT systems, everyone was there was discussing the thing we all love: adventure games. Outside of a large theatre area where talks were held throughout the weekend, three smaller rooms held a selection of titles to play. Although I’d already heard of several of them – including Backbone by Eggnut for which I’m a Kickstarter backer and In Other Waters by Jump Over the Age that I enjoyed during Ludonarracon – there were several that have now been added to my wishlist.
Tick Tock by Other Tales Interactive is a two-player co-op, in which you both see different things on your individual screens and must communicate to unravel puzzles. A Juggler’s Tale is a beautiful-looking 3D sidescroller set in a puppet theatre play, where a puppeteer tells the story of imprisoned circus artiste Abby through his marionettes. And although I’ve already played Ord., developer Mujo Games recently added more three-word stories to their title so I think it’s due a revisit.
The highlight of the weekend were the talks, and we once again had the pleasure of seeing Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games discuss his work and what’s coming next (more about that later this week). Pete was particularly looking forward to listening to Dan Marshall of Size Five Games and is now eagerly awaiting the third instalment of their Ben There, Dan That series. All the speakers could be found chatting in the foyer after the talks and were very approachable for anyone who had any questions.
That kind of sums up the atmosphere at AdventureX as a whole. It’s not that expos like EGX and Rezzed aren’t friendly but this convention felt ‘warmer’; it was a lot more intimate-feeling and far more personal. As a life-long adventure game fan, it was inspiring to be surrounded by people with the same interests and getting the opportunity to listen to some awesome developers share their thoughts on the genre. It was an experience I’d love to repeat and I hope to go again next year.
That may be difficult however: we found out that the tickets had sold out in a total of five hours this time! We’re just going to make sure we’re ready to go when they become available for 2020 and be quick on the button. I took very few photographs because it didn’t feel like the right kind of atmosphere to do so, but you can check out the videos of the talks on the AdventureX YouTube channel.