This Is What Happened At My First Romanian Indie Games Festival

From Laser Deers, Exorcism & Classy Decorations

I’ve been REALLY lucky a few times in my life.

Photo by Terapeak.com

For example when I won an absolutely sick m&m’s backpack in kindergarten. Or when I tricked my way too pretty and cool girlfriend into dating me. Or when I landed my current job that includes a good amount of travelling around the world to spread video game PR knowledge.

Today’s post is about a recent trip to the the Electronic Arts Festival “Clujotronic” which is interesting for a number of reasons. First, it offers a very diverse programme that crosses games with music, film and all digital arts.

Secondly, the event’s location: Cluj in Transylvania, Romania. Besides Dracula’s castle being close by (for real — you can actually rent it out for Halloween. If you are an eccentric millionaire reading this — let’s buy the castle and record an average hip hop album there together!) it’s not a very video gamey place but has a young and upcoming indie game scene.

Last year the event was curated by Thorsten Wiedermann. He is the organizer of A Maze in Berlin, which is the hippest video game show in Europe. Which makes Throsten the hippest video game person in the world. Like “typing on a typewriter with Nokia 3310s instead of fingers” level of hip.

Unlike Thorsten, reading long texts is not very hip nowadays and gifs say more than 1000 words. So I decided to sum up 10 of my favorite moments of Clujotronic 2016 in weirdly moving pictures. Enjoy!

1. When We Visited The Best Steampunk Restaurant Ever (It Had A Laser Deer!!!)

2. When I Got So Inspired By The Laser Deer That I Made An Imaginary Magazine Cover For It

3. When I Hung Out in The Venue and Played Dope Romanian Games

As you can see from the pictures, the venue was quite an old building in the city centre, which was really unusual for a video show but nevertheless worked well and had loads of charm.

The game line up included interesting local titles and some cool VR games like #SelfieTennis. Definitely check out Black the Fall and Second Hand: Frankie’s Revenge if you are into indie games.

4. When Someone Did Digital Graffiti With A Wii Remote On A Massive Projector

5. When A Game Jam Team Made a VR Exorcism Game That Made People Scream

This paragraph is not super relevant but kudos if you are still reading that because that gif in the corner of my eye really hurts my head.

6. When I Watched A Live Music Performance Thingy With An Electro Band And People Playing Games In The Background And I Didn’t Know What Was Going On But It Was Very Nice Anyway

7. When I Was Hanging Out In The City And Used Too Many Filters For My Pictures

In my previous blogpost about a trip to Taipei my friend — aka arch enemy — Ana told me something along the lines of “the post is nearly funny but it’s quite an achievement that you managed to stay there for 10 days, write a post and not mention a single relevant fact about the country”.

So for this post I wanted to make up for that with some historical and interesting facts about the really lovely student city of Cluj and what it means to live there. After some research I stumbled upon this little blog that gives good insight into all that.

8. When The First Documentary Of The Romanian Indie Game Scene Was Pre-Screened

I really dig a good documentary about indie games! Apart from the famous Indie Game: The Movie I can highly recommend Branching Paths of the super different Japenese Indie Scene and soon ROINDIEVAN about the local Romanian Indie Scene (trailer above).

9. When I Found Out Not Only The Bars Are Over The Top Decorated But Also My Hotel. Sick.

Dear Romanian interior designers: If I ever own a flat I’m going to call you. I need you!

10. When I Met Ultra Nice People at Clujotronic. 10/10 Would Befriend Again

I know, I know, that’s sounds like a band saying that the crowd was good. But I really mean it. Clujotronic had one of the nicest and friendliest atmospheres from all games events I visited, so if you were there, talked to me or helped in any kind of way at the event, thanks you are cool!

More fancy pictures from Clujotronic 2016 can be found on the official Facebook page.