(Not) E3 2022: A love letter celebrating the impact of Day 3's showcases
When I looked ahead at (Not) E3 2022's full lineup, there was one day I mentally circled several times over. One day that was guaranteed to be chock-full of interesting games, well produced shows, and good vibes.
That day was today. Because today featured the likes of the Guerrilla Collective, Wholesome Direct, Future of Play Direct, and the Future Games Show.
Their efforts have helped diversify the industry in meaningful ways, helped empower the indie development scene, and seen these presenters establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in difficult times.
Today as we recap another day of (Not) E3, we celebrate their fantastic efforts.
On Day 3, these four teams managed to showcase more than 200 games. Even when you factor in games that showed up in multiple shows, that is an incredible number. And despite such a high volume of games, each showcase found a way to give them a balanced spotlight, and that's an admirable feat.
Thanks to the concentrated effort of the teams behind these shows, the diversity of voices, cultures, and games is higher than ever. Throughout our full day of live stream reactions, our community of chatters on Twitch regularly pointed out how great it felt to see so many different cultures represented. One particular highlight was OU: a game from Japanese devs about Spanish folklore that takes inspiration from European art. Now that's the global power of video games, baby.
The people behind the games and the hosts on screen brought just as many diverse perspectives as the games themselves. It's a breath of fresh air compared to the usual white guys in blazers fare that tended to dominate the stages in years past.
Even better, the efforts of these show's presenters don't just manifest in the moment. Initiatives like the Wholesome Games Direct's Galaxy Fund works to provide funding to BIPOC and queer creators. (You can support the prototype grant by buying one of these adorable Wholesome Games shirts from The Yetee. Every sale directly supports the Galaxy Fund.)
The "indie" label captures such a wide net of team sizes and funding levels that it was also great to see such a diversity of teams represented as well — from high-profile indie studios like Amanita Design to the endeavors of solo developers, like the mind-blowing Morbid Metal. There's no telling what you'll encounter when these indie-heavy presenters are involved.
Games aside, it's amazing how entertaining all of these shows are on their own. Each one of these shows are in only their third year of existence, having started during the pandemic transition to online showcases. Yet from Day 1, they each emerged with a clear identity and messaging.
At the forefront of every show, Guerrilla Collective has had Justin Woodward, owner of the Media Indie Exchange and his own dev studio Interabang Entertainment. Wholesome Games has offered a consistent audio-visual style, with original art and music created for each showcase. The Future of Play is creating a foothold in the industry as the "Toonami for games" with their virtual host Melios. And the Future Games Show has been a rad way to celebrate some of the best actors in gaming with their shows hosted by some of the community's favorite actors each year.
(Also, shoutout to the Future of Play Direct for kicking off with the best music opener of all time, setting the tone for the rest of the show thanks to the Master of Funk himself, Alex Moukala.)
I like to think of these shows as the Gen Z of gaming showcases. They were born on the internet, they've grown up on the internet, and they understand what we want to see. Unburdened by the pre-pandemic precedent for gaming presentations, they weren't phased by the fast industry-wide transition to online. They were ready for the opportunity and hit the ground running from the start — and have only grown stronger in their third year.
Each one of these shows has helped to sell a vision of the future of gaming showcases that I hope everyone follows. One of the biggest appeals of one day being able to attend E3 was the idea of walking around a massive show floor, stopping at demo kiosks with the rare opportunity to play games that were still months or years away.
Each one of today's showcases, particularly the Future Games Show and their "virtual show floor" concept, delivers that experience online. Many of the games showcased end with the tagline: "Wishlist on Steam, demo available now." So if there's something that truly blew your mind, there's a great chance that you can get your hands on it immediately.
I've always been a major proponent of the try-before-you-buy demo lifestyle, and for the most part, demos have fallen to the wayside. Major developers are a bit precious with their games, hiding them away until full release.
I hope the efforts of Steam Next Fest and all of these shows push the needle when it comes to giving gamers more opportunities to play new games early.
So I have one message for everyone involved with these particular showcases: Thank you. Keep doing what you're doing. Your work is noticed and loved by the VGG community. Your impact on the industry is immeasurable. You're the reason (Not) E3 is so exciting for us each and every year.
Day 3 Showcases
Guerrilla Collective 3
Recommended viewing: I Was a Teenage Exocolonist (13:11), Signalis (21:11), Arkanoid: Eternal Battle (47:34), WrestleQuest (52:06), River Tails (1:15:43)
Wholesome Direct 2022
Recommended viewing: All of it, but... Little Bear Chef (17:51), Lumbearjack (19:48), Paper Animal RPG (30:04), Lovebirb (PH DEVS RISE UP, 32:41), Melatonin (1:10:41)
Future of Play Direct 2022
Recommended viewing: Alex Moukala Concert (0:21), Cook Serve Forever (6:32), Moosfield Origins (22:16), OU (24:33), The Cartomancy Anthology (25:34)
Future Games Show 2022
Recommended viewing: Luto (23:43), Nightingale (25:47), Wildmender (29:57), The Entropy Centre (41:15), Ukrainian Game Dev (43:10) and also lots more.