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Big Indie Interviews: Quang Nguyen discusses being passionate and finding new in the old

Interview! We chat with the long-time Big Indie Pitch participant and judge to discuss experimentation and helping the next generation
Big Indie Interviews: Quang Nguyen discusses being passionate and finding new in the old
  • Quang Nguyen advises being personable and human in your game pitches
  • Growing your network is so important. Attending events, conferences, and entering competitions will help with this
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Pocket Gamer Connects London returns on 22nd-23rd January 2024, celebrating its 10th anniversary. Of course, this also means the return of our flagship Very Big Indie Pitch, the popular pitching competition that's been providing developers with insight, feedback, and prizes for years. It's also great fun. We spoke with the organiser Sophia Aubrey Drake for her memories and tips earlier in December.

What better way to celebrate ten years of Pocket Gamer Connects than by reconnecting with some of our most successful developers? In this series, we're learning more about where they are now, what they gained from their pitching experiences, and what advice they have for anyone heading to London for the Very Big Indie Pitch in 2024.

Next up, we're catching up with Quang Nguyen of Asobitech, one of a select few developers to transition to being a judge, to learn more about their past, present and future.

Developer Quang Nguyen (far right) with fellow winners at The Big Indie Pitch at Develop Brighton in 2016.
Developer Quang Nguyen (far right) with fellow winners at The Big Indie Pitch at Develop Brighton in 2016.

Sophia Aubrey Drake: Please can you introduce yourself and the team?

Quang Nguyen: I started in the games industry coding games for the GameBoy Color back in 2000. Now I run the micro indie studio, Asobitech. We focus on making retro-inspired games with an East meets West design philosophy. I’m passionate about building community and sharing knowledge.

You’ve been part of the pitch as a pitcher many times and have finished in the top three. What first made you want to be a part of the pitch?

I was attending the Develop Conference in 2016 and saw the Big Indie Pitch as a fringe event which looked interesting. I found out some pitchers had not turned up, so asked if I could possibly pitch my mobile game, Dr Harrison and the Blood Crystals. I was given the opportunity and managed to win 3rd place while learning lots in the process.

How did you find the experience? What was the most challenging aspect, and was there anything you weren’t expecting?

It was a valuable experience for me, if a little intense. I would say the most challenging aspect is how much time you have for your pitch. It is mere minutes. So you need to be as clear and concise as possible. The thing I didn’t expect was how difficult it is for people to take in any information you are giving them while they are focused on playing your game at the same time.

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Can you let us know what has happened to the games you pitched? Did your experience as a part of The Big Indie Pitch impact your development and subsequent release?

“Growing your network is important. Attending events and competitions will help”
Quang Nguyen

Dr Harrison and the Blood Crystals ultimately got put on hold, as our other game Mao Mao Castle: A Magical Cat-Dragon Fantasy Adventure was doing better and we had to focus on that. MaoMao Castle was a finalist for the Very Big Indie Pitch 2017. We took the game all over for showcasing, entertaining and bringing joy to many people at events. BIP helped us stay motivated, and on track as we wanted to maintain the momentum with the advice and exposure gained from taking part.

Now, what's really interesting about you, is you're one of a very select number of pitchers who have also gone on to be a judge. How was it adapting to being a judge?

Becoming a judge was wonderful, as it meant I could take what I had learned from doing the pitches. And pass that knowledge on to other game developers, asking them the relevant questions. It helped me understand what information was important for the pitch.

DFuzed for Game Boy
DFuzed for Game Boy

As a Big Indie Pitch judge, what would you say are the most important things a developer should remember when pitching their game to industry experts?

Try and be personable and human about the pitches. Get the judges to play the game as quickly as possible, letting the gameplay do the talking for you. Make sure your demos are engaging straight away. Be aware of who your core audience for your game is. Work out how your game is monetised.

“Try and be personable and human about the pitches”
Quang Nguyen

As someone who develops independently, is there any advice you would give to developers based on your experience?

We make games as a passion, but must always keep in mind it is also a business. So make sure you can fund your game development, whether it be with a day job, savings, or investment.

How important is attending conferences, competitions and networking opportunities for independent developers? Is there any advice you would give developers who are considering attending upcoming conferences so they can make the most of it?

Growing your network is so important. Attending events, and conferences and entering competitions will help with this. Get to as many networking events as you can, in person and online. Be involved in your community. When meeting people try connecting to them as people first and foremost, not as a resource of what they can do for you. We are all in this industry because we love video games (hopefully), which is a good starting point for connecting.

Finally, what are you currently working on? Is there anything you can share with us?

Currently, we are working on a brand new game for the Nintendo Game Boy Color. A turn-based, logic puzzle game called DFuzed. You control a bomb disposal robot that has to defuse bombs before they explode, to gain enough energy to proceed to the next area. Allowing you to rescue your friends, and solve the mystery of the origin of the bombs. It will be a physical release on cartridge, with a box and manual booklet, as well as available as a digital download.


Wantto show off your exciting new game? All details for the Very Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects London 2024, including how to enter, can be found on our upcoming events page on BigIndiePitch.com.

If you just want to attend the conference, then tickets for Pocket Gamer Connects London 2024 (22-23 January) can be found on the Pocket Gamer Connects Website, with mid-term discounts still currently available until the first week of January.

Get the latest news, interviews and in-depth analysis on Twitter, Facebook, and our daily newsletter. We will be adding more Big Indie Pitch stories to the site each week.