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  • Writer's pictureNate and Julie

Summer Game Fest 2024: Five indie-dense shows on Day 3 leveled us with a near-perfect lineup

A collage representing each show. From left to right, v-tuber Melios, a hand-drawn Gacha machine representing Wholesome Games, a brown person's hand reaching toward an illustrated retro game cartridge, the Women-Led Games mascot Artemis who is a woman with a pink shirt, black shorts, and teal and lavender hair with antlers, and a screenshot from the Future Games Show with presenters Roger Clark and Britt Baron.

It’s Day 3 of Summer Game Fest 2024, and everyone who tuned in for today’s game announcements might as well have just clocked out of a full shift. For nearly six hours with hardly a moment to breathe in between, today brought five showcases packed with hundreds of game trailers, announcements, world premieres, developer remarks, and of course a handful of goofy bits and gimmicks.


In the constantly shuffling schedule of showcases, we’ve seen so many different combinations of shows over the last few years. Wholesome used to lead directly into Summer Game Fest. Guerrilla Collective and Future of Play would end up linked together. And shows like the Latin American Games Showcase and Women-Led Games were nowhere to be seen, operating on their own schedules throughout the year separately from SGF (formerly Not-E3).


Well, after spending eight hours watching and dissecting all these shows, let this be our formal request: keep these shows together. Because this package works so incredibly well together and is near-perfect in our eyes.


Compared to other days with larger-scale presentations, like Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest and the upcoming 10th Anniversary PC Gaming Show, today we got to see more developers showing off their games in smaller shows — some based around a certain theme or celebrating games and developers organizing collectively around their identities. (Speaking of, I can’t believe a queer and trans games show hasn’t been organized yet as part of this week, which takes place in Pride Month.)


There’s always an impossible volume of shows and games during this busy season. Yet even despite an 8 a.m. start time for us West Coasters, we wouldn’t have missed Day 3 for the world.


The lineup began with Glitch’s Future of Play, a returning player to the summer showcase season. A Toonami-inspired show that leans heavy on the PSX low-poly era and tends to feature a lot of LGBTQ+ games and devs, and spotlights on musical guests, such as today’s segment with video game composer Motoi Sakuraba from ALZARA Radiant Echoes. And it was, without a doubt, a contender for the strongest show overall, presenting truly unforgettable games from beginning to end. The ratio of “Yes, that is for me” games over “Thanks anyway, I’ll leave that for someone else” games was absurd.


Next up, Wholesome Direct spotlighted more than 70 cozy games, including a segment starring games developed for the Playdate handheld.


Wholesome’s lineup surprisingly came with four shadow-dropped games. Here are the games from Wholesome Direct that you can play today: rural India-based slice-of-life adventure The Palace on the Hill, card- and conversation-based RPG Tracks of Thought, cozy frog sanctuary farming sim Kamaeru: A Frog Refuge, and a pool-inspired suika-like POOOOL. The Latin American Games Showcase followed, delivering one more shadow drop in the Pong-like dueler The Amazing Crackpots Club.


Key art for the five games that were shadow dropped during the shows: The Palace on the Hill. Tracks of Thought. Kamaeru: A Frog Refuge. POOOOL. The Amazing Crackpots Club. They are collaged against a black background.
These five games announced their same-day release during today's showcases.

LATAM and Women-Led Games brought the heat. Both have produced similar shows before, including Women-Led Games’ most recent one only a few months ago in March, but both are newcomers to this Summer Game Fest/Not-E3 scene. We loved seeing them bring attention to developers underrepresented in games, spotlighting the projects created with their unique lenses and amassing support and visibility for their work.


Finally, the day concluded with Future Games Show, which famously brings on video game voice actors to introduce its reveals. Hosts Roger Clark (Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption 2) and Britt Baron (Tifa Lockhart in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth) strapped in to introduce 60+ games and — honestly? — made the most of the show’s typical cheesy style.


The day notably came with a deluge of demos, so you can try a fair amount of the games today, with even more demos arriving June 10 participating in Steam Next Fest.


If you missed out, watch our post-show broadcasts below! Each one offers about 30 minutes of conversation recapping each show and spotlighting three hand-picked games we thought were particularly memorable.



Future of Play


It might have been at the wee hours of 8 a.m., far too early for our sleep-deprived hosts, but the Future of Play was just the right kind of medicine to get the VGG crew shaped up for a day full of these showcases. Melios and company presented yet another stellar showcase, and we were all in agreement: it might have been the best show of all of SGF. Concise, punchy, respectful of your time, and full of damn great games. Our wishlists never stood a chance. At the end of it all, we handed out spotlights to games like ABYSS x ZERO (we saw a lot of her today, and you know what? we’re not complaining), All Systems Dance, and Nova Hearts.



Wholesome Direct


Another year, another Wholesome Games banger. The Wholesome Direct continues to be one of the brightest spots of the summer showcase season thanks to their efforts to support the cozy gaming community, showcase stellar looking games, and even put their money where their mouth is by supporting initiatives like the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) when few other companies or organizations in this industry have the integrity to speak on, let alone take action against, the genocide being enacted on Palestinians. In all, the show was a great reminder that the “wholesome” moniker does not equal saccharine and apolitical as many imagine it, and that the games under the label can vary greatly, coming from every genre and tackling all kinds of stories, themes, and gameplay styles. In our recap, we dived deeper into the games Discounty, On Your Tail, and Dungeons of Hinterberg.



Latin American Games Showcase


The first of this year's newcomers, the Latin American Games Showcase was a joyful celebration of all kinds of Latin American cultures and a spotlight on the various game dev communities working and creating all throughout LATAM. With 70+ games on display and a shocking amount of world premieres littered throughout, it was a fantastic show worth watching from end to end. Our highlight reel celebrates representation in games, talks about the potential impact of this showcase's success, and dissects a handful of ultra stylish games with spotlights on Vultures: Scavengers of Death, The Cabbage Effect, and Prisma.



Women-Led Games


Another newcomer to the summer schedule, Women-Led Games brought still another worthy addition to what was already a stellar day of showcases. It was well hosted by games professional Liana Ruppert, and, while on the shorter side with just 21 games, it packed a ton of exciting new reveals and deep-dive looks into games we’ve been looking forward to. And most importantly, it celebrated the women making games in 2024. In our recap, we highlighted games like The Crush House, SunnySide, and Soulitaire.



Future Games Show


Whenever we're given a brand new Future Games Show, we know we're in for a delightful time. You've got charismatic video game voice actors hosting, you've got games from all across the industry, AAA to indie, and you've got full articles to read more about each game the minute the trailers are done. To close, we celebrated the cheesiness of the hosts’ bits and spotlighted Run From Mummies, Eriksholm: The Stolen Dream, and The Operator.


 

With such a strong day of showcases, we do fully recommend you check them out for yourself if you get the chance. You’d be doing yourself — and a ton of indie devs — a favor by learning about and wishlisting these games.


Next for Summer Game Fest, we’ll be livestreaming the Xbox Showcase and the PC Gaming Show on Sunday, June 9. Join us on Twitch! Want more news and game recommendations from this week of reveals? See more of our Summer Game Fest coverage.


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