O ur journey to MomoCon was scary and exciting. We were unsure of ourselves, yet somehow confident all at once. We had been to PAX South and thought we knew about the convention experience. Our PAX visit did not go as well as we had hoped; it was by no means a disaster, we got plenty of helpful feedback and learned a lot about what people wanted, but we did not get the attention that we were hoping for. We managed to get the word out to a lot of people about the game, but we still felt isolated in the indie game space.
So as we were preparing for MomoCon, our expectations were not as high as when we first built our booth at PAX, we did not expect to have a media uprising on our behalf and were wondering if our money might be better spent on some form of internet advertising. We were hopeful. We knew what was possible. But we could not know what was in store for us.
On that first day we met so many people who were supportive of us, not only public convention goers but other indie developers themselves, who had been through what we were going through and had a great deal of insight on what to do and what to do next. This community building between other indie game developers seemed to rub off onto the public. Suddenly we were not alone in this massive convention hall, we were among friends who all had the same goals in mind.
We had a constant stream of people entering our booth and having a blast competing with their friends. We even took a page from our PAX experience and held a tournament every day. Each tournament was a resounding success, with each match being extremely close and tense. This all really allowed the game to show itself as a true couch competitive game because with a trophy on the line people really took their blocks to heart and gave it their all.
One very important thing that we learned from PAX was our booth placement. When we signed up for our booth at PAX we were so focused on simply getting accepted and having a booth, that wherever we placed it would be a success.
At MomoCon however, we knew that we needed to put a lot more thought and foresight into where we were positioned in the convention hall. We had a relatively limited space where we could host our booth but we spent days looking at the floor plans and what was around us and used this information to place our booth in a spot that had the most likelihood of success. We noticed that near the indie game section was an arcade as well as laser tag. Given that our game is a retro-styled arcade throwback we made sure that everybody who was playing those arcades got a good look at our booth if they wanted to head anywhere else in the convention hall. We got an unbelievable amount of traffic from this section that we knew immediately that our efforts had been worth it. People who were already into games similar to ours were flooding our booth excited to play.
In preparation for our PAX visit we were rushed in contacting the media; we sent out a canned email to everyone on the press list in hopes that someone would read it and like what we wrote. This did not work as intended (surprise, surprise) and we did not make the same mistake again. We got started on contacting the press much earlier and made sure to research everyone we were emailing.
What this did is set up our game for even more media success than we had anticipated. Epic Gaming Party, someone who we had not been in contact with prior to the event wanted to stream our game, and bigger companies such as Paste Magazine wanted to give us interviews, simply because we were more prepared than ever before for attention.
Even with everything being far more prepared and polished this time around we still encountered some hardships while on the floor. Epic Gaming Party approached us to stream our game live and this was exciting, except we were having some bug issues. The game would occasionally crash and we were now planning on streaming our game the very next day. Dread filled us all as we imagined the game crashing while live streaming, forever cementing that flaw onto the internet. But we knew what needed to be done.
After transferring the game files onto a laptop we were able to troubleshoot the issues and fixed the problems before ever going live. We were still nervous about livestreaming as we could not anticipate if something would go wrong, but thankfully our preparations were successful and we had a wonderful and fun stream with no hiccups and allowed even more people to enjoy experiencing our game.
We attracted much more attention from the press than PAX thanks to some successful planning, and most importantly we got to meet many players from all walks of life who could sit down with some complete strangers and have a fun, lighthearted yet competitive, gaming experience with one another.