A month has passed since we made our way to Columbus, Ohio and spent some time at GDEX, and yet the impressions are still with us. We drove remote-controlled cars while wearing a VR headset for first person view, we entered various virtual realities where we petted dogs and punched ghosts, we participated in a tournament where we tried to blow each other out of the arena (we lost), and we hopped from one sign to another while solving puzzles. It was a lot of fun across a diverse set of games.
In case you’re unfamiliar, GDEX is a gaming expo that started out as a way for Ohio-based developers to show their stuff. They have since expanded their reach, and 2017 marks their fifth year running. This growth prompted them to move the event to Greater Columbus Convention Center for more space.
Aside from the conference rooms for various panels throughout the day, the show floor was contained in one exhibit area. This made for a very intimate environment, where game developers and staffers were always around to talk. There was no need for a six hour wait just to play a short demo at a heavily decorated booth. At most, the wait time was about 10-15 minutes. The very short, and sometimes non-existent, wait times also meant that we got to play a whole variety of games.
Just to give you an idea on what we did with just a few hours between Saturday and Sunday, here is a list of games that we tried:
- Thrushbriar Hall
- The Pedestrian
- Dark Horizons: Mechanized Corps
- Psyche Soldier VR
- Tactical AR
- Jack Hunter
- ClickShake Mystery Game (working title)
There are a few more games that we didn’t get the chance to try onsite, but will do so on our own time:
Meanwhile, GDEX’s very affordable pricing for attendees – $30 for one day or $60 for a weekend pass, with student discounts available – makes sure that anyone can enjoy a weekend of games. They strive to increase the value of those passes by requiring developers to apply for a booth instead of simply allowing anyone to purchase a space. Their curation ensures that there’s a healthy variety of games being presented, and it shows.
And when you have a developer giving you the rundown on where to eat and drink in Columbus, you know you’re in a special spot. Meeting folks who are passionate with their craft and their hometown is always a great moment. Meeting them at GDEX makes it even better because that signifies that GDEX is doing good work. GDEX’s support for this burgeoning Midwestern effort proves that they can only grow from here, and it will be interesting to see what they have in the years beyond.