So I am writing this post mostly as an initial testing of the waters to see if there is any interest at all in what I am proposing. This isn’t an announcement post or anything official. Just testing the waters.
Since moving back to Brisbane from Melbourne mid last year, I’ve really missed the real collegial games ‘scene’ like Melbourne has. There are a bunch of game studios in Brisbane and a bunch of both indies and ex-AAA people. There’s more than a few academics and a heap of students around between the few universities. The local IGDA does some real important industry-focused events every year. Others have been putting on a range of really interesting shows and events. But there’s still something missing that Melbourne had. Something that isn’t just about developers (and especially isn’t just about development in the commercial space) but also isn’t just about game enthusiasts either. That real sort of cross-pollination of games people and art people and writing people and just general ‘culture’ people that Melbourne manages largely just through having a high density of such people.
I think, what I am missing, might not actually be a Melbourne thing at all but a Perth thing. Well, okay, it’s a mixture of both. The few time the folks from SK Games came to Melbourne and held events where low-fi games were projected onto walls and everyone drank cheap beer for a while were really good and felt really important for the sense of a sort of creative scene (yes I keep using that word) of creators and enthusiasts and laypeople and critics and students to just hang out and really appreciate these weird audiovisual playful things. The Hovergarden events that were organised around Freeplay, or the Wild Rumpus events I’ve attended in both the US and the UK felt similar. Just really positive, really creative, really collaborative, and really exciting. Such events have always just felt real important for both creators and audiences to cross-pollinate.
A personal goal of mine in 2016 is to try to get something similar started in Brisbane. I want to just find a space, obtain a projector (multiple projectors if this hints at in any way being a sustainable venture), obtain some cheap alcohol, obtain some friends to help, and see if I can’t get some people from various backgrounds to hang out and play some games and capture some of what made those other events feel really cool and creative and special.
The primary issue is a complete lack of funds, short of just injecting a whole bunch of my own money. I’m willing to buy a projector with my own money because if this completely flops then, cool, at least I have a projector.
I’m not sure where else to start, so I’m writing this post primarily as a call for suggestions and offers for help. So if you:
- Know of anyone who might have a space that can be used for such an event in Brisbane;
- Are able and willing to contribute hardware of some kind (projectors, 360 controllers, monitors);
- Are a local developer who is making the sort of games that you think would fit such an event (think the realm of Nidhogg or the realm of Panoramical);
- Know of any other events already happening that I should already be aware of;
- Would totally attend such an event in Brisbane; or
- Think this is an absolutely terrible idea
I would like to hear from you!
One option, of course, is to do a small kickstarter for a couple thousand bucks just to, well, kickstart an initial event and then if that goes well, hope to make enough money to run another one etc etc.
Honestly, though, I’m not even certain such an event is sustainable in Brisbane, if it is the sort of thing that would find enough enthusiasm in this town. But I would like to try! It could be pretty cool, if it works out. And it would save us all from having to fly to Melbourne all the time. I know there are a lot of people interested in such a thing around here, but whether or not there is a high enough density of such people is a different question. You can’t rely on the exact same people rocking up over and over again.
A final note: I don’t want these to be real ‘gamer’ events. What always amazed me about SK events is the people that rocked up were not people who rocked up to typical ‘game industry’ events. They feel like going to a gig or an art show but with videogames. That is what I really want to capture. So I am mainly looking for venues and the such that would encourage that (art galleries, bars, etc.). So if you have contacts in the local art world who might be enthusiastic about vidoegames, that could be useful!
If you have any suggestions or want to make any offers of help. Hit me up on Twitter at @brkeogh, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though, I stress again, this is just an initial testing of the waters and not in any way me officially announcing anything at all is definitely happening.