Tacos, Bluegrass, & Videogames took place on January 11th 2014. We billed it as “The best things in the world, all at once, with beer”, and it was sponsored by the fine folks at Codeplay. We also got delicious beer from Brewdog, which was great!
We wanted to produce and host an event devoted to accessible, fun, and unusual games, together with good food and good music. We wanted to make anyone feel welcome, and we wanted to show games that weren’t violent, scary, creepy, or sexist. And of course, we wanted to eat tacos and listen to bluegrass.
It turns out, we weren’t alone. We sold out our first run of tickets in around 40 hours. We released more tickets and sold all of them really quickly too. We had a huge waiting list, and we had to turn people away at the door!
The night took place at Pilrig Church in Leith, right around the corner from Lucky Frame headquarters. The place was packed, the food was delicious, the tunes were toe-tapping, and the games were awesome. We were completely blown away by the response – we had so much help from dozens of amazing volunteers, starting several hours before we opened the doors, and the goodwill and good vibes continued throughout the night.
We showed quite a wide range of games – an abstract 2v2 sports game, a game where you had to punch bowls of custard (yes, real actual custard), a game where you had to wear a caterpillar costume and roll around on the floor…for most of the games we built brand-new custom interfaces, like a super-minimalist arcade cabinet, a videogame embedded into a coffee table, or a mysterious post-apocalyptic camping tent.
The tacos were handmade by Morgan and her team of helpers (special thanks to Roof, Craig, and Hal), and they were a hit. They were proper flat-style corn flour tacos with beans, rice, and vegetables. Yum.
The wonderful old-timey acoustic music was provided by Jed Milroy together with Carrie and Adam Bulley.
A 1v1 game where you actually punch bowls of custard. It’s as silly and ridiculous as it sounds. By George Buckenham
By Magdev – a hilariously bonkers taco-based first person escape adventure. We built a custom arcade cabinet out of wood from our local lumberyard.
Beautiful atmospheric abstract first person exploring game by Titouan Millet. We built this into the Taquito Tower, making a little cinema onstage for people to play. This didn’t come out too well in photos but looked lovely.
A gorgeous musical exploring game by Niall Moody. Fraser painted another beautiful coffee table which we used to present this game, and Niall made a special 4 player version. You couldn’t hear the audio very much, but people loved playing it nonetheless…
A brilliant collage that felt like a really powerful piece of interactive video art, by Jack King-Spooner. We presented this in a camping tent, and Jack created a really wonderful atmosphere for people to experience his game. Did you pick up the phone?
A real crowd pleaser by One Life Remains. A very simple but crazily frantic four player game which slowly got destroyed over the course of the night (which was part of the point…).
The feedback from attendees was amazing. Some choice excerpts from Twitter (the #TBVG hashtag was pretty active…):
A very special thank you to all of the people who came early and helped set up, or stayed late and helped clean up, and of course all of the people who helped throughout the night. We absolutely could not have done it without you – we were completely astonished by everyone’s willingness to pitch in, carry stuff, push gigantic carts of equipment, clean up custard, serve tacos, man the door, and everything in between. HUGS.
Probably the most-asked question of the night was “Is this happening again?!”, and the answer is: we really want to do it again. It took a lot of work to put this together, but it was hugely enjoyable, exciting, and rewarding, and we are so proud of it. At the moment we are eyeing early June as a potential time, and we are as yet undecided as to whether we will keep the formula exactly the same or change it up a bit.
But doing it once more is only a small part of a bigger thought process we are currently having at Lucky Frame about how we can do this on a larger scale. We are currently exploring options for how to make this into a regular event that encourages and showcases experimental game development, alongside quality food and music, on a national scale. Tacos, Bluegrass, & Videogames was for us a experiment, a testing of a hypothesis. We wanted to see what would happen if we presented video games in a way that had never been done before in Scotland. What if we tried something totally new, yet totally accessible? What if we showed that video games in Scotland can be more than games about crime and misogyny? Is there an appetite for uncompromisingly artistic, abstract, or silly games? I think that this past Saturday night gave us resounding answers to all of these questions…
This will require a lot of organisation, and of course money. We have a few different ideas for how to approach both of those things, but we will need your help. If you were there on Saturday, please spread the word. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback, positive or negative.
If you would like to be involved in making the next phase of TBVG happen, please let us know. We will need money, games, venues, materials, and more.
Also, send us any pictures and videos you took, or if something crazy/funny/silly/unexpected happened, we’d love to hear your stories. If you weren’t there, tell us what you would like to see, or where you are so we can work out where to go next.
Seriously. We had an amazing time, and we hope you did too. Let’s do more of this. See you at the next one.