A Gathering of Silicon Valley’s Indie Game Community

Following the success of their first live event since February 2020, Indie Game Developers of Silicon Valley organized another playtest night. UCSC Silicon Valley Indie Playtest Night brought together developers from around the Bay Area for the chance to showcase their work.

The playtest night saw a diverse collection of unique projects from ones inspired by classic works to those that offered a different experience. This was an opportunity for the developers to showcase their work and get some feedback from players. The event was hosted at the University of California, Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Campus (located in Santa Clara) on December 2nd.

The Games I Played 

I got to try some amazing games during the UCSC Silicon Valley Indie Playtest Night. With so many interesting selections and a limited amount of time, these are the games I got the chance to play:

Shell Out Showdown is a multiplayer Smash-inspired game that also works to deconstruct the genre. Inspired by the challenge of making a non-violent version of a popular game. The idea here is to take the hoarding concept seen in most battle royales and make it about generosity. Players take on the role of a vending machine and fight to give away all their food without wasting it. The goal is to give away all your food to other players and stay empty for 10 seconds.

Currently, the game is available on Steam (it launched in April 2022) with an update coming by the end of January 2023. There are plans to also launch the game for the Xbox with a target date of March 2023. 

Cry of Athena is a VR experience that mixes the elements of an RTS with that of a first-person experience. The story follows Ares after he opens Pandora’s Box and creates a rift across space and time. To undo this; Athena tasks the player (a minor god) to either take command of her forces or get on the ground and undo the chaos. Players could either command their forces from a bird’s eye view or join them in the fight. 

Currently, the game is being developed for PC VR but there are plans to bring it to the Meta Quest 2. The dev team’s goal is to launch the game sometime in 2023. 

Sky Lights is a puzzle game with the objective of turning off all lights. There are three game modes, each with its own challenges and objectives. As you progress through each challenge, the background changes signifying the player’s status. The game is being developed for the mobile device but no launch window has been set. During the playtest session, guests got to try it out on a Macbook. 

Playtest Night

Besides playing some unique games, guests also got to mingle with each other over food and drinks. Many talked about their projects (regardless if they were showcasing or not) along with the feeling of having in-person events. Hopefully, we could experience more of this in 2023. 

Did you get a chance to check out the UCSC Silicon Valley Indie Playtest Night? If so then share your story in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: This was a free event open to the public. 

8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the gamer community of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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