Tag Archives: independent

Beta Builds and Brews at The Geek Easy

What started as a one-off for students of Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy to test their games is quickly becoming the must-attend event for Orlando’s thriving indie gaming community. Kenny Baker, a student in UCF’s FIEA program, partnered with A Comic Shop’s Geek Easy in May to give fellow students a chance to get the games they’re working on into the hands of the public.  May’s event packed The Geek Easy with 150 attendees!

I got the opportunity to attend their June event, which featured two more FIEA games and two games from local developers, Astro Crow and Depth First Games.  The Geek Easy is the perfect place for an event like this as it’s already a hot spot for Orlando’s geek and gamer communities and their bar keeps the event light and relaxed.

Once the developers are set up and the night is in full swing, each development team gets the opportunity to come onto the stage and talk about their game.  So far, each event has only had four or five games, which means you can get a chance to test them all with ease and have enough time with each game to give the developers the feedback they need.

July’s event is set for the 8th and it’s going to bring back the five FIEA games that they’ve featured previous.  It’s their chance to get these games back into your hands “so they can show you the changes you’ve helped them make!”

BBB July

I got to talk with Kenny Baker about the future of Beta Builds & Brews and he told me his inbox is full of local developers looking to take part.  Nothing has been announced as of yet but August is shaping up to be all games from local developers.  “There’s plenty of talent here.” he told me as we discussed the Orlando gaming community and trying to get it more recognition.

I love Beta Builds & Brews and can’t wait to see how it continues to grow.  Not only is it a great opportunity to get games in the hands of the public, but it’s also a great place to network for developers and for people trying to get into game development.

You can check out their facebook page here and if you want to contact Kenny about getting your game featured, you can email him at Kenny@betabuildsandbrews.com.

Unboxing IndieBox: Orlando’s Independent Video Game Subscription Box!

Subscription boxes are hugely popular right now.  They’ve gone from being filled with just general pop culture merchandise to being focused to specific genres and themes.  Hell, even Marvel has one now too.  But when you have a lot of people trying to cash in on the same idea, you get companies who decide to do something different and really stand out.  And that’s exactly IndieBox does.

Orlando-based IndieBox chooses one downloadable video game a month and builds a physical collector’s box around it.  All the games they choose must be available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.  They need a rating on Steam of at least 75 or at least an 8.0 on IndieDB.  All of their boxes have a DRM-free copy of the game, USB game cartridge, a soundtrack, and a color manual.  But each box also has different items themed around the games like pins, stickers, and various physical goodies.

As somebody who still buys games physically, I love this idea. Even when you buy physical games, their boxes have nothing inside but the game disc.  IndieBox captures the nostalgia of buying games in the 80s and 90s and understands the lost art of the video game manual.  And I can only imagine how cool this is on the developer side whose game is only available in a downloadable form.

I got to stop by IndieBox in preparation for this article and they’re a small team, consisting of only five people on staff at the moment.  The company started in a living room, quickly grew out of that, and after a little more than a year you can tell they’re outgrowing the shared office space where they’re currently set up.  Their box for May, Dyscourse, is their 13th box at the time of writing this, they’ve hit 1,300 subscribers.

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But how is such small company able to reach and fulfill orders for so many people?   Over the weekend before their box ships, they open themselves up to the community and throw a Boxing Party.  You get to come out to their offices and help them package and ship out their boxes.  By coming out and helping, you’ll get a fed, paid, and a free box!  If you keep up with them on Facebook, you can find out how to attend each month’s Boxing Party.

IndieBox also recently partnered with two successful Kickstarter campaigns.  Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove (that I was a backer of) was funded back in March and IndieBox will be putting together their Kickstarter Exclusive Boxed Game Set.  Steamroller Studies, also located here in Orlando, successfully completely the Kickstarter campaign for their new game, Deadwood: The Forgotten Curse, and IndieBox will be putting together the physical copy for the game as well.  And their reach doesn’t stop there.  In April they partnered with Humble Bundle and released a box dedicated to tabletop gaming.

I can’t say enough how much I love this service and what they’re doing for the indie gaming community.  They’ve grown a lot in a year and I’m excited to see where they’ll be in another year.  You can keep up with them on Facebook and Twitter and even watch them stream games on their Twitch channel. Oh, and if you’re at PAX Prime in August, stop by and say hi!