When it comes to video games, Oregon is more than just the title destination of the popular computer game The Oregon Trail.
Although we aren’t a hub for mainstream video game companies like Blizzard Entertainment or EA, the state’s indie video game industry is growing, says David Lo, Indie Game Con’s event director. Oregon is ranked in the top 10 U.S. states for video game development, he adds.
“I think everybody moved here and wanted to make video games,” Lo says.
In its sixth year, Indie Game Con is a two-day industry convention that brings together game developers, companies and gamers. Organized by the nonprofit BitForest, the event features panels discussing industry issues, video game testing and even a live band playing music from video games.
In previous years, the event has featured vendors selling items found at comic cons — things like artwork from popular video games. Instead, this year’s event focuses more on the industry and allows games that don’t have a following to take center stage, Lo says.
Indie video games have an advantage in developing innovative games, he says. That’s because mainstream developers are concerned about the costs of sinking money into projects like virtual reality.
The event has 15 video games registered, double the number at last year’s Indie Game Con, Lo says. With the increase in registered games and stations, the wait time to play will be shorter this year.
Games fall into genres such as arcade, racing role-playing, shooters and dungeon-style. Of course, the event also features King Pong.
As a gamer, Lo says two games that stick out to him are Dungeon Boast and Gobble Ghost.
Dungeon Boast has one to four players who try to survive a dungeon with traps like saw blades and arrows. The player finishing with the best health wins the most gold.
Lo also recommends Gobble Ghost, a Halloween-themed game he helped develop. The game’s hero is a hungry ghost who eats small things, absorbing their power — but you have to watch out for bigger creatures.
“You eat bats and slime,” he says. “At some point you become so supermassive that you have to gobble everything.”
Besides video games, the event also features panel talks that cover subjects like game level design, story writing, programming and how Mad Otter Games dealt with hackers.
The band DTW, known for its set lists filled with video game music, performs at 1 pm both days of the convention.
Indie Game Con is 10 am to 5 pm Saturday, Nov. 2, and Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Lane Events Center, 796 W. 13th Avenue. For more information, visit IndieGameCon.com.