Ready… FIGHT! Showcasing CRISPR Crunch at Stunfest

A few weeks ago, we got the chance to present at the video game festival Stunfest , in Rennes. Rennes is a beautiful city in northwest France, full of gorgeous timber-framed buildings, delicious beer, and a vibrant indie video game scene.

What is Stunfest?

As far as I understand, it got its start as a place for competitions in fighting games like Street Fighter. But as the event grew, it became known for its showcase “spectacular play” - when people are playing to put on a show for those watching. Spectacular play can encompass speed runs, high scores, or less usual formats for game performance. For example, they put on a show where a player beat Little Nightmares alongside a live orchestra.

I took the largest suitcase I had and filled it with stuff for the stand.

I’ve been itching to go to Stunfest for several years now. In fact, we were accepted to show Blockchain Battle there in 2020, just months before covid hit and shut down in-person events altogether. This time we went to show CRISPR Crunch, and I was excited/nervous to see how players would react.

The calm before the storm


The indie game showcase was in a beautiful old church. We set up early Friday, with the doors opening that afternoon. Would anyone show up?

Indeed they did! There were huge lines out the door to try out the indie games. We had tons of players come by our stand over the weekend.

Get ready to rumble

To add a bit more excitement, and because we know that Stunfest-goers love a good challenge, we put on a little tournament of our own. Each day we picked one level of the game, and we rewarded the player who made the high-score on that level a gift certificate to buy games and electronics.

When you spend a while making a game (or any project, really) it can be easy to lose track of whether you’re building something that people actually want, or just chasing after a dream. That’s why it was so awesome to see people try out our game and actually enjoy it!

We got some great feedback, too. For example, we made a special “arcade” level just for the event. Like Tetris, the level just gets harder and harder until the player eventually loses. This turned out to be a very fun way to play, and we’re considering keeping it in the final game.

Stunfest a great place to be for indies!

Also, high-scoring players pushed our user interface to the limit, trying to squeeze out every last millisecond before the next virus would hit. That made us reconsider a lot of our UI choices, and we’re working on a new version now that should iron out the kinks we observed.

And overall, it was just a wonderful time. The indie video game community is generally very supportive and just fun to be around. I can’t wait for the next event!

*-- Jesse *


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