Mike Chat – SXSW, Dreamhack Austin and IRL
Hey there, Mike here (@MikeFirehammer). Welcome to “Mike Chat“, a series where I’ll dive into certain DuelCircle topics that the community wants to know more about, discuss some WIP stuff revolving DuelCircle, and share the decision making process from an organizer POV.
For this first post, I want to take a second to reflect on SXSW Gaming, give some insight on DuelCircle’s IRL involvement, and take a look forward to Dreamhack Austin.
Welcome to South by Southwest #SXSW
SXSW is a music, film, and interactive, mega-festival in Austin, TX usually held during Spring Break (well, mine and Mythdust’s Spring Break) every year. The gaming portion started out small and continued to grow over the years. If you’ve ever been to a gaming convention, you should know how things usually go. This was the 2nd time I’ve ever gone to SXSW/the gaming portion. It’s not a big convention but SXSW as a whole is HUGE.
KingsIsle has been to SXSW before but this was the first time they’ve gone back to conventions since the massive layoffs in 2016. I’m extremely happy that KI finally was able to go back into the IRL sphere. I’m not gonna really explain what KI did at SXSW, you can simply watch the KI (not) Live from the booth or check out Mythdust’s recap. (And yes, I got to meet a few twizards there in person. They’re pretty cool.)
What I do want to mention is that a few people think that SXSW (Specifically SXSW Gaming) is this huge convention like any of the PAXes. It really isn’t at all. SXSW Gaming definitely isn’t a big major convention but it’s decently sized. It’s not anything major like PAX West/East/South. Although if it’s your first time going to conventions, I’d definitely start off with SXSW Gaming since it’ll give you a good sense of what you should expect from the mainstream conventions.
DuelCircle x IRL
One thing in particular that I will talk about is DuelCircle’s involvement with SXSW Gaming. It was already unique that 2 organizers were present there but it became special once we introduced our special DuelCircle “business cards” in person. (They’re not really business cards. If you’ve ever seen pictures of the physical W101/P101 cards with a crown code on them, ours are exactly like that.) We weren’t necessarily going to introduce those cards at SXSW but I took advantage of the opportunity and did it anyway.
Now, why exactly do we have these cards? A few of us wanted to represent DuelCircle in the IRL sphere. Could you guys end up getting these cards? Maybe, just not anytime soon. Could they be a hint towards something in the future? For now, no. They’re just a casual little thing we have. What it DOES mean is that DuelCircle isn’t going anywhere, we’re gonna continue to be active and continue to grow for the long term. We’re already at work planning for our flagship tournaments (1v1 Luau/Christmas Clash) and creating fresh new content to keep the site healthy.
If you haven’t already heard, I’m going to finally be attending Dreamhack Austin this year. Dreamhack as a brand is HUGE in Europe and I’ve always wanted to go to a Dreamhack event since it has that mainstream feel as a PAX event. Although Dreamhack Austin is bigger than SXSW Gaming, it’s just not as big as a PAX event. Dreamhack is known for their massive LAN party. Although I’m not gonna take part in the LAN festivities this time around, I’ll just be exploring and seeing what Dreamhack brings to the table.
If you’re a Texas local, you should definitely go to Austin on the weekend of June 1st. I’ll be there June 1st/2nd (possibly with Ryan too!) and if you’re lucky enough you’ll get one of those DuelCircle cards with a sweet code on it.
Give me your feedback in the comments below about this post or about things you’d like to see on this new series. Although I don’t really have anything else to say on the IRL side of things, maybe in the future you’ll see this site “officially” be involved in the IRL sphere/the convention side of things.
Mike (Mike Firehammer) is an organizer for DuelCircle events/community involvement. He joined DuelCircle in fall 2016 to work on the development of the Christmas Clash tournament before building a spinoff of the Clash tournament known as 1v1 Luau. Mike is a decent balance PvP aficionado, a not so good Derby player, and has a fetish for Manders. Questions about DuelCircle events or want to chat about Manders? Reach out to him on Twitter via @MikeFirehammer.