YvoCaro plays: MoPop and Redmond

The holiday is at an end, time to go back to real life again. And while I’m glad to see my family and little Sammy again, it’s always sad when it’s over. A year of planning and saving up makes for a wonderful journey though!

As ever, the title here is YvoCaro plays but to be honest, I didn’t play a lot. Being on a holiday isn’t the best time to play games I guess, even with some time to spend in the hotel room at night, I tend to turn to reading instead.

Still, the world of video games did touch on my site-seeing fun.

MoPop and Redmond

The last days were spent in Seattle in Washington State where I had two encounters that reminded me of playing video games. Driving up to Seattle we took a little detour to Redmond. Redmond, that is home to Microsoft and the headquarters of Nintendo of America. I was really looking forward to that, although I knew Nintendo doesn’t host any visitor tours or such. 

Still, it was disappointing: just office buildings and one sign, but that was it. No special Luigi bus, no Mario flag. Nothing. Now I know the Nintendo World Store has all of that and more to entice visitors but somehow I had hoped for something more. 

How different was Microsoft Headquarters. They had a visitor center that we could visit freely. There was a lot on Microsoft’s history, with exhibitions of computer and gaming history. Gadgets for us to try, a  virtual reality demo and a cool store with XBox related merchandise. That’s what I had wanted for Nintendo too! 

In Seattle something else was in store for me that was a nice surprise though: in the Museum of Popular culture we found the Indie Developer section, made possible by Nintendo! 

MoPop from above standing on the SpaceNeedle

The importance of Indie developers

If you get the chance to visit Seattle, MoPop as it’s called, is a must on your to-visit list. The section about science fiction was fun for a Star Trek fan like me. And the Fantasy exhibit was exquisite: like you stepped into a fantasy world yourself. Of course, Tolkien had a place there, but also Lewis ( who wrote the Narnia books) and Terry Brooks. 

I saved the Indie Gaming section for last, very curious about what I’d find there. Funny, my daughter asked me before we entered what indie gaming was and I couldn’t give her a good enough answer. 

They had an answer at the ready though. The way they described it: 

“ Today,  “indie” is most commonly used as shorthand to distinguish between the video games created at big-budget “AAA” studios and those made, created by small teams with artistic spirit, creative control and financial independence.”

The freedom to make what you want is most important. Creating a game because you want to, not because it’s your job. 

I really like that last addition, that’s exactly how it should be. Sure, a lot of people employed by the big AAA companies will also be passionate about what they are creating. But in a big company, there will always be rules you have to stick to. The outlook of whether or not a game will bring enough in in the way of profit will always be one of the main considerations. 

So that’s why the Indie game developers are so important. They bring a variety to the table that benefits us gamers, and ultimately challenges the big companies to step it up too.  

Overcooked and more

The exhibition gave the opportunity to try a lot of games. Not all of them playable on the Switch, but many were. I saw interesting titles like Little Nightmares (on Switch), Push me Pull you (not on Switch) and Old Man’s Journey was there, the one I have just reviewed.

Old Man’s Journey was there at MoPop

The one title I actually played together with my daughter was Overcooked. What frantic gameplay! We weren’t feeling very confident with people behind us looking on, but it might be a title I will buy in future to play with my family. And that reminds me: Overcooked 2 is available too in the eShop. Keep your eyes peeled for a review for that game on here by Paige! 

If you enjoy my ramblings on the world of video games, find my other entries here.

Giving Overcooked a (frantic) try

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