The Inherent Welcome: Melbourne Games Industry
It was around six months ago when I approached my tutor after class on a Friday afternoon asking a specific yet retrospectively unfair question: “How do I get into the video games industry?”
Having studied journalism for around two years at the time, one of the hardest and most daunting tasks I had encountered was finding that doorway into the field I have come to love in video games journalism. Feeling overwhelmed, I had no clear avenue to start, no clear beginning, and no easy way to continue writing about what I specifically enjoyed. That was quickly turned by one very simple characteristic I have found inherent in Melbourne’s video game industry culture, with almost no effort at all – the family environment.
“Being an indie here in Melbourne is kind of great because the community here is very active and very collegiate. We share all of our failures and successes and having that support network that, when you’re an indie who has no money, is incredibly valuable,” said Ben Britten Smith, Technical Director of Tin Man Games.
“I think Tin Man Games definitely would not be around if it wasn’t for the indie community here in Melbourne.” It is in the relationships and the trusting bonds formed that makes Melbourne a great place for aspiring game enthusiasts, he said.
Game Connect: Asia Pacific (GCAP) was held in Melbourne on 21-23 October 2013, and seeing all the game developers local to Melbourne all together was definitely true to Ben’s comments. The aura of the event applauded creative thought, innovation seen in many art cultures, amid a friendly sense of accessibility. Everyone there had the opportunity to talk and share their experiences of their profession in amongst varying and specialised skill sets, whilst the panels tackled problems and leant helpful advice in that friendly and accommodating twist true to the impression of the convention.
As a relative newcomer to the scene, I was almost certain that my place there would be distant, doing my job and moving out. However, seeing the people I had only met once before was surprising in the difference compared with most second encounters – we were all close friends.
It is in that light that I would like to extend the invitation to anyone in Melbourne or Australia. If you have any interest in the video games industry, whether it is writing or games programming, no matter who you are or what you do, the Melbourne video game scene ‘doorway’ is larger than you think.