Gamacon is a convention of video games, comics, anime, cosplay and much more that takes place every year in Mexicali. We had the opportunity to attend its most recent edition (which was November 11 and 12) and the truth is that we had an incredible time, so we want to tell you everything about our experience and why we think it is one of the most fun events at that you can go
It is very important to emphasize that Gamacon is much more than cosplay, comics and buying everything that catches our attention, as it also has spaces for local developers to show their projects to the public, to seek financing and to meet people with whom they can work. There are also conferences with experts on the video game industry, comics and technology and even laboratories for young people to learn more about game development and creation.
Video Game Elevator Pitch
The Gamacon experience began on Friday the 10th with the first event we attended: the Video Game Elevator Pitch, where 6 Mexican studios showed the projects they are working on to seek financing and support from investors. It was moderated by Jay Powell, CEO and founder of Powell Group and IndieGame Business, a group that seeks out emerging independent talent in the industry. The judges were also people related to companies willing to invest and grow these projects.
The studios that attended were Ephemeral Cube, Rockhopper Studios, Plantula, Tres Pixeles, Spaceboy and CiberFly Interactive Studios, and each one had 10 minutes to present their titles and answer questions from the judges, as well as receive feedback from them. All of their deliveries surprised us, to the point that we will do an article where we will talk in more detail about them, but for the moment we can assure that the future of Mexican indies is promising and is in good hands.
The Video Game Elevator Pitch occurred at the Workaholic offices, and each studio received a lot of feedback from the judges. It was very clear that one of Gamacon’s main objectives is to encourage these developers to become known and support them with their launch goals. Subsequently, the convention press conference was held, where the organizers and guests gave more information about the event and their participation.
Symposium and Global Game Jam
Afterwards, we went to the LAIIT (Laboratory of Engineering, Innovation and Technology) at the September 16 University Studies Center, where there were several conferences and workshops available to all students of the institution and anyone who wanted to attend. The topics discussed were “Artificial Intelligence within video games”, “Technology and Production with Virtual Production” and “How emerging technologies like AI, blockchain, metaverse and the monetization systems will change the industry”.
Among the speakers were Alejandro Ruiz Amarillas, project developer at Grupo Educativo 16 de Septiembre; Carlos Vilchis, co-founder of Eugenia, Unreal Authorized Mentor and Expert Educational Consultant; and Alessandro Biollo, Joe Unger, Sho Sato and Tomo Moriwaki, who are Business Development Managers in different companies around the world dedicated to video games and their marketing.
The workshops were “Character Animation Programming in Unity 3D”, taught by Felipe de Jesús Pérez Rea, Academic Coordinator of the engineering degree in software development; “Rapid World Prototyping,” by Trisha Williams, CEO of Origami Air; and “Creation of assets for video games in Blender”, led by Víctor Navarro, 3D artist at Liquid Development and at Keywords Studios.
A Global Game Jam was also held, where young people from the September 16 High School worked non-stop for 2 days creating a video game with an ecology theme, and later presented it to us. They were divided into 3 groups of approximately 11 students and each one developed a delivery, and the results were pleasantly surprising.
One of the titles shown was BioPark, made in Roblox, and whose objective is to collect the garbage that people throw in a park that produces energy naturally. another is called Eco-Parkour, a 2D platformer with impressive pixel art where the protagonist is a ranger with the mission of keeping the place clean. Lastly, we saw Eco-Raina kind of minigame where food scraps and waste rain down, and we must catch them before they hit the ground.
Each one showed surprising elements, especially for having been created in such a short period of time, and although the judges voted for their favorite (the winner was BioPark) the 3 groups had the opportunity to attend Gamacon to show their creations to all the event attendees. They were also able to speak with the judges for advice on video game development and other topics about the industry. Even the municipal president, Norma Bustamante, had the opportunity to chat with them.
We closed on Friday with the Business Mixer, a space in the Workaholic offices where the developers who attended the Elevator Pitch, the judges of both that event and the Global Game Jam and more experts and industry workers met to talk about their experiences. experiences, share contacts and talk about future opportunities for collaboration and work.
He had a totally casual address so they could talk freely and without nervousness. They served a delicious dinner and there was also the possibility of having a few drinks, and in this way an atmosphere of friendship, relaxation and fun was generated. It was very nice to see the different developers who presented at the Elevator Pitch talk to each other about the entire process they have gone through in their projects and what it is like to work on their dreams and what they hope for in the future.
On Saturday and Sunday we finally attended the long-awaited main course: Gamacon. The convention began on the first day at 1:00 pm and on the second day at 11:00 am. It took place at the Mexicali State Center for the Arts (CEART), a fairly large and ideal space to accommodate the different developer stands, the food, merchandise, art stands, the main stage, the sets for each tournament and even a wrestling ring.
In the video game booths were the 6 studios that were presented at the Elevator Pitch and a couple more, where we saw other titles such as Project Mask, Mexico, 1921 and DIM. We were able to play them all and it was wonderful, because their presentations left us with a good taste in our mouths, but also the desire to try them, and they all met our expectations. Each one prepared a demo of between 20 to 45 minutes that made the time fly by.
The stores that sold merchandise had everything: t-shirts, jackets, toys, figures, mangas, comics, stickers, keychains and any object that involved video games, anime and pop culture. It was very difficult for us to resist buying everything we saw and finishing the fortnight, but there were people who gave in to temptation and were carrying several bags. We don’t blame them.
Just as we could buy merchandise, it was also possible to purchase works from some local artists who had space to show off their fantastic handmade or digital works. In addition, there were a couple of stands where these people could take our portrait in less than 10 minutes, and the result was surprising; so much so that they had many customers during the 2 days.
We also spent a lot of our time in the tournament area. The main attraction was the combats of Smash Bros. Ultimate, since there were many TVs available for the dozen contestants who showed up. They even put up a huge screen for us to watch some of the fights, and many people gathered to watch each fight. Among other games and tournaments was Rey de peleas, magic and Yu-Gi-Oh!
In the middle of the CEART they put a Wrestling ring, where during several moments of the day we saw some fights with professional wrestlers from the area. These could be heard throughout the place, because the canvas sounded loudly with each iron, tie, bomb and hurricarrana that was performed in the ring. These fights also attracted the attention of many people, so the area was full of people enjoying the spectacle.
One of the main attractions was the cosplay. Hundreds of people were dressed as his favorite characters, and it was notable that they had put a lot of effort and dedication into his costume. We saw everything: Link, Zelda, Cloud Strife, Aerith, the Mandalorian, Springtrap from Five Nights at Freddy’sNaruto, Wolverine and others.
Many went like this for pure fun, and others to participate on Saturday in the cosplay catwalk, for which 57 people registered in both categories (children and adults). It was a space where creativity left us speechless, and each costume that passed was more incredible than the last. Likewise, some well-known cosplayers in Mexicali, the country and internationally attended.
Lastly, on the main stage we constantly saw a lot of activity; One of the most striking was the Q&A that some of the special guests answered. Among them were Mike Towry, co-founder of San Diego Comic Con; Lee Kohse, LUCASFILM artist and Keithan Jones, CEO of Kid Comics. Also there was the cosplay catwalk and musical performances by Animonster and Dead Pixels, 2 extremely talented local groups that cover anime, video games and more.
All this was Gamacon, an event that goes beyond being a convention; It is a space where people can come together to be themselves and share their passion for video games, anime and comics. For us, it was very moving to see how much fun people had, but one of the things we enjoyed the most is that Gamacon is a space and channel where Mexican talent can shine.
There are the young people who compete in tournaments, the fighters who risk their health to entertain us, and above all the developers who presented the results of their effort and dedication over the last few years. Observing both the fans who tasted their works and the talks they had with investors and experts was very encouraging.
We hope to soon see news about each of the games presented and that their release date is as soon as possible. We would also like to see more people participate in the Elevator Pitch, Business Mixer, Symposium, Global Game Jam and everything that Gamacon offers, as we believe it is the perfect space to coexist, grow and have an unforgettable time. Its next edition does not yet have a date, but it will still be in November, so who do we see in 2024?
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