Pixel Fest 2017

Staff Writer | Daija Marrow

*Article originally published in October of 2017

Pixel Fest was a video game convention held in downtown Norfolk this past weekend. It’s family friendly atmosphere welcomed guests to multiple floors of interactive workshops and games. It not only provided locals with fun activities to engage in over the weekend, but was an opportunity for small businesses to bloom in its wake.

For the first year, Pixel Fest invited vendors to sell merchandise on the floors. The word of Pixel Fest’s success last year spread to many through means of social media. Others were invited in an attempt to boost the festival’s popularity.

There were companies ranging from locations as far as Durham, N.C. to the neighboring city of Virginia Beach. If you were unable to attend, here are some of the businesses that displayed their merchandise, and are always happy serve new customers. You may find something you’ve been searching for.

A number of companies native to Richmond attended, one going by the name of Sweet-Fusion Bath Products. They specialized in delicious looking bath bombs and keychains resembling treats such as cupcakes and brownies. Although they appear as so, they are not edible.

After practicing her craft for fourteen years, Sarah, the artist, created her business two years ago, and learning about Pixel Fest a month ago, decided to set up shop. The confectionary toiletries can make great gifts or ways to treat oneself.

From farther south, based in N.C,, was the development company Solanimus. They participated in Pixel Fest last year.

“It was a good experience last year, great for exposure,” said David, the founder of Solanimus. “ So good that we just had to come back.”

David and Daniel completed a video game called “Signal to Noise” that is based off of tempo. The pace of the game follows the song chosen. Songs of the players choice can even be uploaded and played with the game. "Signal to Noise" is currently available on Steam for $4.99 and the developers welcome all to check it out. The idea originated during a game jam and sprouted from there.

A game jam is when developers sit down for a period of time, three days being the usual cap, and create a game from the base up. By the end of the jam, a full, playable demo should be the result. Game Jams can breed successful ideas and Pixel Fest hosted one.

There was a competitive aspect to this Game Jam, allowing developers to create teams and compete for a cash prize. Given access to a room on the sixth floor of Slover Library, Wednesday afternoon, teams began hatching plans and diving into lines of code.

On Saturday they displayed and pitched their game to judges, competitors and curious onlookers during the Dev Con, a portion of Pixel Fest that required a $75.00 ticket. Whether or not they won the competition, they left with a solid game idea and new connections, possibly friends following the experience.

Pixel Fest is an event that brings fun and opportunities to the City of Norfolk. It grows with every passing year, giving small businesses the chance to gain exposure and connect with their community. But the festivities aren’t limited to video games.

Acquaintances are made through a common interest and laughs are shared over friendly competition. If you didn’t get to do so this year, there is always next year. Take advantage of the opportunity to contribute to the culture of Norfolk and support local businesses in the process.