Applications for #OhayoIGS 2024 will open later this year!

Changes in 2023:

  • New space. In 2023, the #OhayoIGS will be moving to the Union D+E space on the Hyatt second floor; this location housed the Registration space in 2022. This placement gives us the most space we’ve ever had, all in one room. This will circumvent many issues we’ve had in the past with being split between multiple spaces. We will also be next door to PC Gaming, just down the hall from the Console Gaming, and around the corner from Tabletop Gaming.
  • Branding. While our new location is in a more “central area” than any space we’ve had before, we still expect some attendees to have a little trouble finding us. We’re working with the rest of the Gaming department to emphasize our position with new banners and generally improved wayfinding throughout the con. Getting attendees at large to read is truly an evergreen mission.
  • Ribbons. The addition so big, it gets its own page! We are hoping to make the #OhayoIGS a hotspot for finding badge ribbons in 2023 and beyond. Please see this page for more information on this new way to reach a dedicated group of attendees.
  • Incentives. As regular #OhayoIGS developers will know, we put a lot of effort into giving attendees a reason to play every game in the showcase. We’ve given out prizes like art prints, ribbons, lanyards, art trading cards, and more.
    In 2022, we worked with 2 amazing artists on our incentive poster for attendees. GDEX’s official artist Elentori offered a new piece commemorating our continued partnership with GDEX, as well as fitting Ohayocon 2022’s larger theme of Mythical Creatures. As if that wasn’t enough, our favorite #OhayoIGS artist Pocketbee revamped her 2019 piece ‘Throne of Games’ in full color. Attendees enthusiastically played every featured game in the #OhayoIGS to take home one of these deluxe double-sided art prints.

What you can expect at Ohayocon:

  • Fresh eyes and perspectives. Our attendees are, primarily, anime fans. While we definitely have a healthy population of “Gamers” (and the crossover is very large between those groups), many of our attendees simply will not attend gaming-specific events. This means you won’t see many repeat customers from gaming-specific events. It has also been made clear to us that Ohayocon attendees generally express more interest in story, visual design, and diverse representation than attendees at gaming-specific events.
  • Engagement. We’re proud to say that historically, you’d be hard pressed to ever spot an empty demo space in the #OhayoIGS. Despite not being the “main event” of Ohayocon, we pull standing-room-only crowds from open to close, every single day. Our “Indie Passport” program debuted in 2019 to encourage attendees to play more games than they might otherwise through prize giveaways. The Passport was cited in over 60% of developer feedback specifically as a positive addition that resulted in increased engagement.
  • Shiny trophies. The 2019 #OhayoIGS debuted the Indie Gaming Showcase Awards, featuring both attendee-voted and judged awards. Since 2019, we have been lucky enough to award one developer the GDEX Golden Ticket annually, which entitles the winner to a free booth at the next GDEX, the Midwest’s own game development expo. Fun fact: to date, our own Golden Ticket winners have gone on to win 3 GDEX Best in Show Awards. We know how to pick ’em!

Check out what developers had to say about the #OhayoIGS in past feedback forms:

“Great community vibe. This showcase is evolving very quickly each year and it’s so exciting to see Ohayocon doing more to support our local independent creators.”

tabletop developer, exhibited twice

“It’s my favorite event and my team goes to a lot of them each year, big and small.”

digital developer, exhibited twice

“The Award Ceremony and Voting System were brilliant ideas to boost engagement from attendees. I loved the fact that you alternated tabletop with digital games, as it was a phenomenal idea to improve the level of distinction between products.”

tabletop developer, first-time exhibitor

“Great job with the demo passport. Had a ton of people stop by and check out the game. Saw people run into certain issues that they didn’t run into at previous conventions/expos. Good feedback.”

digital developer, exhibited twice

“I’m starting to think the “niche adjacent” cons are better to go to than the board game focused ones. By far, the best experience I’ve had at a con.”

tabletop developer, first-time exhibitor

We love collaborating with developers to make the #OhayoIGS special!

We like to work closely with our developers to create new and unique experiences for our attendees. For instance, at the 2019 #OhayoIGS, we featured the public debuts of multiple promo cards, game modes, and tournaments from our developers. We also commissioned Throne of Games, the first official #OhayoIGS print from Pocketbee, featuring references to all 11 of our exhibiting companies. Attendees could earn a signed print by demoing all 11 games in the #OhayoIGS (a process that took 3 hours, on average), and our entire print run ran out by mid-day Saturday.

We also worked with Galatune to create a branded promo card, free with any purchase at their booth. We’ll let their lead developer tell you his experience:

“Gaming with Ohayocon has been a blast! They are incredibly supportive of our local indie game community and they’ve helped Galatune make lots of new friends and strong game sales .”

Adam Wik, Galatune

In 2020, we created a demo incentive inspired by the pinnacle of collectibles: trading cards. Every attendee who checked out games at all 16 exhibitor booths got an exclusive pack of #OhayoIGS trading cards!