Gamescom 2020 has kicked off, though of course it's not exactly taking place in a crowded hall in Germany this year. The Indie Arena booth has adapted somewhat like other virtual offerings the A Maze festival and Devolverland Expo from earlier in the FakE3 summer. The Indie Arena is now a quite neat browser MMO where you can check out trailers and demos for a huge harvest of 185 indie games while walking around the colorful virtual show floor.
I'll admit I was expecting something a bit cheesy but I actually think the online Indie Arena is pretty swell. You can pull up the little MMO-style experience in your browser to create an account and an avatar to walk around with. Interacting with screens playing trailers will scroll ya down the page a bit and play the trailer automatically. Clicking on arcade cabinets can direct you to demo downloads.
Each booth is individually-designed to reflect the game there a bit like physical booths are decked out. Heck, there's even some nice and chill music in the background and, unless my ears deceive me, the muted murmur of a crowd.
I happened upon the Boyfriend Dungeon booth mostly by accident but stuck around briefly to gawk at the trailer on the big screen. I spotted Pumpkin Jack in the lineup trailer above so I pulled up my map and warped myself to its booth next. I've had my eye on it for a few months since I'm a big fan of the glossy capitalist version of Halloween with pumpkins and bats and all. Oh look, there's a demo to try through Steam. Neat!
The online show floor certainly isn't the same as a physical one but heck it might actually be better. You can use a chat system right in your browser and party up with friends to walk around together. You can also fast travel between booths instead of walking through each one. I'd recommend you do though, because the nice little surprises of "oh I didn't know so-and-so developer was here!" still hold up in digispace.
I'll gladly take that over sore feet, a dead phone battery, and expensive concession stand food. We're going to keep doing this part next year, right?
The online Indie Arena runs from now until Sunday, August 30th. You can catch a full list of games virtually attending on the Indie Arena Booth site.
If you missed all the trailers from Gamescom Opening Night Live we've rounded those up for you as well.