Posted by on 15 Jul, 2016 in Fragmental

Inaugural Play Expo Glasgow

On the 11th & 12th of June, the Braehead Arena in Glasgow hosted the first Play Expo in Scotland. No longer would we all have to trek down to Manchester or Birmingham (or further afield) for our fix of pinball, old coin-ops, indie games, and classic console & computer games. There were other things there as well such as table top games, cosplay, merchandise area etc, but they’re not relevant to this article, so I can’t be arsed writing about them. I’ve got other things to do. Like helping get Fragmental finished!


Ruffian by name…

Usually at these things people set up their stand with maybe a poster, some sweets to entice the punters, If the budget allows possibly a free-standing banner. For an indie, these events can be expensive, so self marketing is tough. Then we turn up with our 2 large free-standing banners, stick a 3rd up in the seating area, and for good measure bring 4 bright red seats for players to sit on. Overkill? It certainly made us stand out, and hopefully brought a few more people into the indie area to see what was going on. We’re not subtle, but when it comes to selling games, you can’t really afford to be.


Devil child

Having just mentioned those red seats, now seems the opportune moment to mention the most awkward moment of the day, and that award has to go to the sneaky little girl who stole one of our chairs while we were talking to somebody about to play Fragmental. On top of this, she picked up the iPad at the next demo station along (HEDRA), and promptly exited to the desktop, scanned through everything available, then started playing Candy Crush! Having zero interest in having to remove someone else’s problem child, we left it to Craig from We Throw Switches to sort it out. For the record, he looked ultra uncomfortable doing it. Good job fella.


So how did it go?

Short answer – exceptionally well. Our stand had a continual stream of players on both days, with virtually no downtime. Once again, our initial thoughts on Fragmental’s demographic proved wide of the mark, with at least half of the players looking like they hadn’t even been on the planet for more than a decade! The feedback was universally positive, and I think in terms of both this, and the amount of people wanting to jump in and have a game, this was up there with the best show’s we’ve done.

Except for the 2 young lads who took 96 rounds to win a 1-on-1 ‘first to 10’ game. Watching that was like death by 1000 cuts. Or 96 at least.



One thing we’ve learned from our last year working in the indie games scene is that its a very friendly, collaborative community where everyone wants to see each other succeed. From the one-person entrepreneurs to the established studios, everyone just wants to make games, and hopefully make a bit of money out of it too. So, I’m going to promote out neighbours from Play Expo here, in the hope that some of our followers will take a look and support them:


“HEDRA” by Kirsty Keatch

A remarkably simple idea, all you do is rotate 3D shapes, then drop them on a variety of inclines with the aim of them landing, and settling on the one coloured face. Simple, but ridiculously addictive, especially when someone insists on beating your score you just spent ages achieving. I thought I was pretty good at it getting 22, then not at all competitive Billy went straight on and hit 35. Way to piss on my chips there Billy  :-(

Anyway, its available for free on iOS, so there really is no reason not to get hold of this.



~Ow~ by Vaida

I think this is actually called ~Ow~, though the phrase “Competitive Cuddling Simulator” on the blackboard next to the monitor is much more descriptive. How to describe this…

Essentially you control one person of a couple on a sofa, with the aim of matching the required body position through keyboard input. Think CLOP / QWOP, but where you have to first learn which key maps to which limb. It all leads to a confusing mass of limbs, which given I’m led to understand that a lot of Vaida’s work is based on her life experiences, makes me wonder about the origins of this game! When played competitively, ~Ow~ got quite frantic, which is pretty good for a game made so quickly. You should keep an eye on what she does in the future, as her current output level of games is crazy, and each one is something unusual and different.

Competitive cuddling



Honourable mentions

With pretty much every home computer and console ever present, along with a good range of pinball machines and over 40 classic coin-ops, there were plenty of those “Holy Shit!” moments on seeing a piece of hardware or a game you’ve not played since you were a kid. From a personal point of view, I made sure I got some time on Hyper Sports (Coin-op), Paperboy (Coin-op), Robotron (Coin-op), Blastcorps (N64), Power Stone (Dreamcast), and 3D Bomb Alley (BBC B).

I’ll not bother talking about the now ever present at these events Vive or Oculus. Needless to say, the queues were as long as usual.


‘Ruffian’ v ‘We Throw Switches’ Team Deathmatch Challenge!

Just before the end of the show, Craig & Andrew from We Throw Switches challenged myself and Billy to a Fragmental Team Deathmatch. They talked the talk. But walked the walk? More like shambled like the undead, or crawled like a baby. Next time guys, you’ll get there…