Imagine, if you will, a softer world. Literally. Your coziest outfit, your squishiest ‘mallow, your favorite pets, snacks, beverages - your couch, the sun streaming in the windows and nothing but leisure time ahead of you. Add in the latest greatest narrative indie games, including never before seen/played demos, some panels, and a fantastic sale on Steam, and what you’ve got is a convention that’s cozy to the core..
LudoNarraCon is back, and in its fifth year this celebration of narrative games features more new games, more great demos, more panels, and more titles than it ever has before, while still giving you the rare “con at home” experience that lets you interact and engage with great games, amazing indie devs and a community who loves narrative games as much as you do. If you’re new to it all, let’s boil it down to the basics - LudoNarraCon is all about the immersiveness of video games and the power they have to tell great stories.
We’ve been attending this unique and exciting convention since its second year, smack dab in the middle of the pandemic, and have eagerly awaited it every spring since. After all, who doesn’t love the feeling of getting hooked on a great story? And who doesn’t love diving into a bunch of brand new worlds? I challenge any gamer who’s never really delved into story-rich games, any reader, and any lover of great TV and film to dip their toes in the water, learn and explore during this free festival, as I can promise anyone who does will walk away with something new learned and something new to love.
Technically, LudoNarraCon kicked off on Thursday, but the great thing about virtual conventions is that if you’re late to the party, you can simply wait until the things you want to see come around again. Panels this year include topics like conversations with the devs of games Citizen Sleeper and Hardspace Shipbreaker as well as Survival Storytelling which kicks off Friday’s panels at 10 am, and Using Systems Based Writing to Make Player Choices Have Lasting Impact On Your Narrative, and again, whether it’s a topic you thought about before or one that just sounds interesting, we encourage you to check out these talks for behind the scenes tidbits about games you know and ones you don’t, interesting intellectual discussions about crafting good stories, and things like representation with talks like Friday’s last panel at 4pm - Beyond Representation, A Southeast Asian Approach to Narrative Games. All scheduling is in PDT time but again, if you miss something, watch for it to come ‘round again - as in most cases it will during the four days LudoNarraCon officially runs - from Thursday May 4th through Monday, May 8th.
Aside from the excellent panel programming, you’ll want to make sure you have your headsets and controllers charged, as there are 43 exhibiting games at the festival, including some we’ve seen before (or written about) like Hardspace Shipbreakers, Beacon Pines and a sequel to the OG Wrestling with Emotions, as well as games that have never before exhibited and will be available for the first time ever, like Astronaut: The Best, Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical and Tamarindos Freaking Dinner.
We’ll be hard at work in our comfiest clothes trying out all the amazing demos, chatting up devs, watching panels and adding things to our wishlist and then we’ll report back with our findings so you have a guide to the best of the fest if you don’t have time to dive in with both feet.
You can take part in LudoNarraCon by following this link. The con takes place on Steam itself and on the pages of all the exhibiting games and devs. LudoNarraCon kicked off on May 4 and will remain live on Steam all the way through May 11th, which is also the date the sale will end. You can also connect with fellow congoers and keep up with the latest via Twitter or the Fellow Traveller Discord.