Six Floors of Fun and Games at PixelFest!
Audra Reigle | Assistant Technology Editor
Gamers and vendors united under one roof this weekend at the Slover Library in Norfolk. PixelFest 2017 was a free event going into its second year featuring game developers, a developer’s conference, music and game demonstrations.
New to PixelFest this year were vendors. Found throughout the library, vendors set up and sold their wares. From T-shirts to buttons to jewelry, there were items for gamers and geeks alike. Some of the vendors included Micah Weltsch, emizart, Sweet-Fusion Bath Products, Whimsical Wonderhaven and Cute N Spoiled.
Video games weren’t the only type of game visitors to PixelFest could play. On the lower level of the Slover Library, tabletop games were set up for visitors to play. Trading card game (TCG) players also had a place to show their skills on the third floor.
The third floor was also home to a demonstration of “Starship Horizons,” which can best be described as a starship bridge simulator. This game allows players to take one of five roles: captain, communications, flight, tactical or engineer. Players would work together to complete tasks using the unique abilities and responsibilities of their role before returning to home base. Also featured on the third floor were classes centered around teaching children and adults the basics of programming using Scratch, a free animation and storytelling program.
Children’s activities were set up on the second floor. Children could play life-sized Pac-Man, or search for game characters that were hiding among the books. Activities themed around “Minecraft” were also found on the second floor. These activities included crafts, a play room with life-size Minecraft blocks and MinecraftEdu, an educational program that uses “Minecraft” to teach collaboration and problem-solving skills.
Featured on the fourth floor were virtual reality headsets and classes demonstrating digital art and 3D printing for cosplay. Those interested could put on a virtual reality headset, take two controllers and soar through an environment to collect coins. Players took on the role of a bird, and all the player had to do was flap their arms as if they were trying to fly like a bird. If they crashed or ran into an object, they died and had to start again. Players who got a high score were able to enter their name and have it recorded. Only three VR headsets were set up, so players waiting for their turn could use tablets and phones to play other games like “Richard Pizza’s Hungry Games” and “Spirits of the Lost” designed by Intelligent Decision Systems, Inc. (IDSI).
The fifth floor hosted the indie games. Developers brought games such as “Clash Cup,” “Peak” and “Signal to Noise” and allowed interested visitors to test games and ask questions about them.
The first of its kind in Norfolk, PixelFest 2017 is a big event for gamers, even for those not interested in gaming. There was a lot to do on all six floors of Slover Library. It’s difficult to see and experience everything in one day, though. Even if you can go for only one day, it’s still a lot of fun!