Game Discovery Exhibition returns to showcase growing industry

· The Pulse
By and

A video game that got its start at the first iteration of the Game Discovery Exhibition (GDX) will be part of the esports tournament at the resurrected version of the indie games expo at this year's K-Days.

The opportunity to showcase Little Hellions, a "passive-aggressive fighter where you can't fight" by Schadenfreude Studios, is one of the many things that has Derek Kwan of Interactive Arts Alberta excited about GDX's return to Edmonton after a six-year hiatus.

"The story behind Little Hellions is that they first showed it at GDX 2015, our first show," said Kwan. "And now it's getting released this year. They've had this journey alongside us."

GDX will be part of the Maker Faire from July 22 to 24 on the K-Days fairgrounds. "It's our pleasure to bring expanded games and esports presence to K-Days through GDX; not only can we show off the homegrown talent at the Maker Faire to our attendees, but we also get to support the local interactive digital media sector," Explore Edmonton CEO Traci Bednard said in a news release.

Now is the time to show that support, said Kwan, as Alberta's game industry keeps growing.

"Alberta is home to a lot of innovation and creativity, and I am excited for audiences to see that," he said. "If ever there was an argument to get behind the industry and maybe put the gas pedal down for supporting the industry — we're about to rocket to success."

Cute video game characters leap among basketball nets in front of a neon pink and purple backdrop

Little Hellions is a four-player competitive arena battler with a twist, which visitors can try out at GDX. (Schadenfreude Studio)

During GDX's first incarnation in 2015 and 2016, esports were nowhere near as big as they are today. But close to half of the floor space will be set up for esports operated by TGS Esports at this year's event, giving new and experienced players a chance to compete for prizes.

Other exhibitors include GDX stalwart Beamdog and its '80s-nostalgia-soaked MythForce, as well as small studios and indies like Good Agreement Games, Greater Evil Games, Polar Tabby Interactive, PolyHobby Studios, and RaVeN Madd Studio. Other interactive digital companies like vrCAVE and Story City Inc. will also be there, as will Edmonton Shift Lab's Treaty 6 awareness board game, Exploring Wahkotowin.

Professional development will be offered in the weeks leading up to GDX, Kwan said, with talks from people such as Aaryn Flynn of Inflexion Games and a chance for developers to win a one-on-one session with Jason Della Rocca of Execution Labs.