East Coast Travelogue №2: The Colonization of Raleigh

What makes a city have an identity crisis? When does freedom of movement become abhorrently violent gentrification? What differentiates a community from a colony?

Rachel Presser
11 min readApr 25, 2022


Sunny shop exteriors and graffiti bumper on Salisbury Street in Raleigh, North Carolina
A sunny day on Salisbury Street a few blocks from the Raleigh Convention Center, snapped by me

Previously, on Episode 1 of the Return to the East Coast Travelogue, I had one hell of a time going back to Atlantic-facing shores via the most miserably execrable airport that ever disgraced the air traffic control system.

And then I landed in the diametric opposite for my only business segment on this month-plus voyage: Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). Which is one of the nicest, if not THE nicest, airports in America!

Interior of Raleigh-Durham International Airport with escalator and shops next to 3D mural of wolves against a city background that says “Welcome to Raleigh: home of the NC State wolf pack”
I snapped this after I got some tea. Have you ever seen an airport this clean and shiny? My suitcase just glides across that floor!

When it’s not a pandemic, I come out to Raleigh every year for East Coast Game Dev Con (ECGC). It’s a wonderful show that’s not as huge, hectic, and all-consuming as GDC, the largest games industry event of the year. You get a chance to actually sit down and talk to people, and there aren’t as many talks scheduled. You can see the entire expo hall in the span of 10 minutes, opposed to the sprawling mammoth of booths that cost more to set up than what many indie developers spend on entire titles.

One of the students I helped mentor made an amazing sidescroller about frogs that was judged one of the most popular games of the entire show! Frog Token World is now one of the official games of the Frog Slut Army!

Check out the game, it’s a lot of fun. And yes, be nice. I said so!

And when you speak there, like I usually do every year, you get a free VIP pass and the organizers treat you with that renowned southern hospitality. Which means a VIP lounge at the convention center constantly stocked with water, coffee, and quality snacks (we got soft pretzels this year!!) plus free group lunches and dinner with the other VIPs at…



Rachel Presser

Game dev, writer, small biz & tax consultant to indie devs. That loud socialist Frog Slut from The Bronx, now in Angel City. https://linktr.ee/sonictoad