Really excited to announce that Foxtail Games was selected to present at SXSW’s Gaming Pitch Competition
! Game developers from around the world submitted their games, and the selection committee chose the Top 16 teams to present in Austin, Texas.
Justin and I (Tyler) got the news in February and were thrilled to have a reason to check out South by Southwest. After having a short conversation and realizing that we both were yearning for a road trip, we packed up our bags and began an unexpectedly eventful trek to the middle of Texas.
The first six hours were as normal as it gets – mile upon mile of green countryside. Brains on autopilot, we were coasting along, when we suddenly noticed the unmistakable flashing lights of a cop car behind us. After a quick glance at the speedometer confirmed that our cruise control was still locked in at the speed limit, we pulled off to the side of the road and awaited our verdict.
“Where you guys coming from?”
“Athens!…Gwinnett!…(realizing that neither of those mean anything to a cop in the middle of Mississippi)…Atlanta!” Smooth. Nothing suspicious about that answer.
“And where are you heading?”
“We’re on our way to a pitch competition in Austin, Texas.”
“Ah, so you’re baseball players?”
While flattered that the cop’s first thought is that we look like the type that are talented enough to be traveling across the country for baseball, we realized that attempting to explain our situation any further was likely going to end with us in the back of a police cruiser, and opted to instead show him our pitch video.
“Ah, that’s pretty cool! Well the reason I pulled you over is because you were holding up traffic there for a bit. Just get over on the right side next time somebody comes up behind you – drive safe!” Phew, crisis averted.
“You know, we should’ve gotten a picture with that cop before he left. Would’ve made for a great blog post once we get back,” says Justin as we pull back onto the highway and leave Mississippi in the rearview mirror.
After a night at a $40 per night motel (what a deal!), we’re back on the road for the second day or our journey to Austin. After twelve more hours on the road (half of which were spent driving through the small continent known as Texas) we once again see the red and blue lights in our rearview mirror.
“Sir, have you been drinking tonight?”
“Hah, no, I wish. I could use a beer.”
“Sir, I’m going to need you to step out of your car and put your hands on the top of the vehicle.” Nice, Tyler. As smooth as ever.
Following a quick pat down and search of the car, the officer returns, our blocks-in-hand. (Our prototype toy set blocks that is)
“Can you tell me what these are?” This time, we knew the drill.
“We’ll do you one better, we’ll show you.” We proceeded to give the officer a quick demonstration of Brave Explorers. After that, she explained to us that we had been swerving inside the lane, and told us to drive safely from there on out.
This time we didn’t miss the chance for a quick photo op! Then it was back on the road and into the heart of Austin!
We spent the first day exploring a few dozen indie games, testing out VR experiences, and indulging in the local cuisine. We quickly learned that Austin is one of the few cities that can pull off the modern metropolis vibe and the quirky, small-town feel without skipping a beat.
The next day was back-to-back pitches, where we were ultimately admitted to the final round and named a SXSW Gaming Pitch Competition Finalist. While we were bested by Tessera Studios and their VR thriller, the enthusiasm and excitement of competing alongside so many passionate and talented game developers was incredible to experience.
After a grueling day of pitches, we made it to the final round as one of eight finalists!
The SXSW team was kind enough to give us two music badges for SXSW!
The lines for Weezer and tons of other bands were packed, so we decided to just go into a random bar and hear whatever band was playing there. The band was called “THEY.” and THEY. were amazing. They kept shouting ‘Wolf Pack!’ and holding up Rock On hands 🤘, most likely because it’s like wolf’s ears right?
As if this trip couldn’t get crazier though, minutes after walking out of THEY’s concert, we heard somebody shout ‘GUN!!!’. What happened next was one of the most terrifying moments of our lives. There was an actual stampede, everybody (including us) started running and taking cover, some people fell on the ground, it was nuts. A bunch of police officers came rushing onto the street to restore order. Turns out they never found evidence of a gun (See tweet below). Was there really a gun? We may never know. All we know for sure is that our weekend at SXSW was one of the craziest weekends of our lives.