LEGOs, Competitive Gaming, Electronic Music, Trading Cards and Tech Startups came together at the Tilt Expo and Music Festival September 5-7 in downtown Durham, NC. Tilt is the first event of its kind for the area, combining two separate festivals into one weekend-long extravaganza.
The Expo was my event of choice—it featured three jam-packed days of programming, including: Podcasting 101, My First Indie Game, Women in Video Games, live taped podcasts, and so much more. Panels ranged from serious to hilarious, showcasing the 5 Worst Geek movies of 2014 and How to Be a Nerd For a Living. Panelists included industry veterans, local celebrities, and notable guests from the video- and tabletop-gaming industries.
All demographics old and young were represented in conference attendance, and I noticed there were more women than men. Tilt Expo catered to all types of folks; many came in costume, cosplaying a favorite video game character or franchise.
The most popular panel was “Mating Habits of the Modern Geek”, a popular Raleigh-based podcast and social club focused on getting techies out of the house to help them gain experience in dating by teaching them to be brave and to know their audience. Host Kelly Hightower is a local legal professional who has been running the podcast for several years. She held a speed-dating booth during Tilt as well, to huge success.
In addition to music, technology and video game startups from across North Carolina made a showing at Tilt Expo. Several had showcased at E3 or similar conferences; there were now out to demo polished products to locals. BlueWire Games demoed its in-beta game Sledge—players attempt to escape an island by building a boat using pieces collected over several platforming levels. Also in attendance was local indie game developer Relevant Games showcasing its new educational tower defense game, Fat Chicken. Fat Chicken teaches players about a real world industry—agriculture and meat processing. In the few, quickly-addicting levels that I played, I learned how chickens are actually taken to be processed—including a visual of chemicals going into food. It was a cute, unique take on an age-old gaming trope. Fat Chicken is currently on Steam Greenlight; please click here to vote for Fat Chicken and show your support!
Overall, the Tilt Expo was a huge success. Filling the shoes of last year’s Escapist Expo, the new conference certainly made its mark on the local scene. Events like these shine a well-deserved spotlight on all the local talent in video game and tech startups in the Triangle area. The local community is currently overflowing with job opportunities at local publishers such as Red Storm and Epic Games.
I can’t wait to see how the conference grows in coming years.