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Rezzed 2013: PC and Indie Gaming leads the way with a unique brand of creativity

June 25, 2013, Author: Neil Hughes

While we suffer the hangover of E3, where style over substance may have left a bitter taste in your mouth, the perfect antidote to lavish press stands and tacky booth babes is to get right back to the heart and soul of gaming. Right where passionate indie developers can showcase their unique ideas to keen gamers that appreciate the art of gaming.

Step forward Rezzed 2013, hosted by Eurogamer and RockPaperShotgun, and held at the NEC in Birmingham. The event showcases the most exciting PC and indie games, where quirkiness and innovation mean more than any Triple-A title littered with quick-time events.

Some may find it somewhat ironic that the colossal NEC, with its offering of 200,000 sq metres of space, was hosting a small PC and Indie games show. If anything, it shows just how far the indie games market has come thanks to mobiles and tablets, as well as the more conventional PC and consoles.

The beautiful simplicity of Richard Perrin’s Journal, for example, is one of those little games where you suddenly find yourself lost in this artistic world and, for a few minutes, lets you forget that you are in the middle of the show floor. The intro itself made me take a seat and pop the headphones.

Enter the pages of the sketchily painted world of Journal. A journey through the life of a young and troubled girl as she tries to face up to the choices and responsibilities that come with childhood. An experience that questions the reliability of how we choose to remember events and explores the secrets hidden within dreams.”

A special mention must go to Bossa Studios who not only captivated crowds with their unique Surgeon Simulator 2013 but also engaged with fans by offering swag bags for anyone prepared to carry out crazy random tasks that were announced on their Twitter feed.

I won’t go into too much more detail on the actual games, as I know some of our writers who attended Rezzed are planning to write about the games on display, but if there was an award for customer engagement these guys nailed it.

If you couldn’t make the event or were too busy playing games on the show floor, all two days’ worth of the events developer sessions – with insight from top industry folk, such as Chris Avellone, Ragnar Tornquist, Dean Hall and Creative Assembly – can still be viewed on the Eurogamer website.

The fact this show was moved to a bigger venue and to one in a more central location is testament to both the ambitions of the organisers and how popular this rapidly growing sub-culture of gaming has become. Judging by the queues for the popular titles and the developer sessions, it appears this show will continue to grow at a rapid rate like its sister show, the Eurogamer Expo. In a world where traditionally, mainstream publishers don’t seem to recognise that there is an audience outside of London, I genuinely hope that we see more shows like this around the country and learn the lessons offered by the success of Rezzed.

More than that, it was fantastic to see crowds flock to a small gaming event that celebrates big ideas rather than big Hollywood-style budgets, and many people attending felt that some of these games on display had so much more to offer than the usual sequels that dominate console charts each Christmas. After the controversial Microsoft keynote at E3, many questioned the future of indie gaming, but after attending Rezzed I am fully reassured that creativity is flourishing in the right places.

People’s love for the art of gaming is stronger than ever. This is something we should not underestimate.

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