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“The Arcade” Australia’s hotbed for game design and innovation

Joachim Cohen

October 21, 2015

A window in to Australia's game development industry, just in time for Melbourne International Games Week 2015!

What do you think of when you think of the modern workplace? Does Google spring to your mind? Free food, funky colours and space age furniture? But there is so much more to a workplace and it all centres on the people and the mindset.

Recently the Intel Education team was invited to “The Arcade” a co working space managed and pioneered by the Game Developers Association of Australia (GDAA). Set just on the rim of Melbourne’s CBD, at first glance it looks just like any other modern open plan office, with glass meeting rooms and general work areas.

But…then …. Liam Esler (GDAA’s Event Manager and Sponsorship Coordinator), gave me the lowdown. Spread over the two floors are numerous game companies, from one person start-ups to companies that produce Apps that are household names around Australia (Think ‘Bonza’ the word puzzle game & “Crossy Road”), there is even specialist Game marketing companies and of course the Association has its offices there too.

With all these innovative people under the one roof, there is the potential for this to be a hotbed of game innovation, and it is! People share ideas and expertise and dish out complements and criticisms all with an aim to drive each other further and promote the proliferation and success of the gaming industry in Australia.

I was amazed to learn that 47% of Australian game design activity happens in Melbourne with ‘The Arcade’ the centre of that buzz. This somewhat explains why in October an awesome week long Gamethon ‘Melbourne International Games Week’ is planned uniting the gaming public, gaming in business, education and healthcare and game developers in one massive event. GDAA in partnership with the Victorian Government and PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) are keen to see Melbourne on the map as the latest hub in game innovation. So what’s in store? Here are some of the details:

‘Melbourne International Games Week’ – October 26 to November 2:
— Unite Australia (October 26)
— Game Connect Asia Pacific (October 27-28)
— Education in Games Summit 2015 – A Gameful World (October 29)
— PAX Australia (October 30-November 1)

EDU Games Summit Flyer

The Intel Education team are excited to be part of the Education oriented “Education in Games Summit” which is aiming to provide primary and secondary teachers with a unique opportunity to see how games in all their forms as well as game creation can provide an avenue to future careers, engagement with STEM and so much more. For all the details see the link at the bottom.

I am inspired by the collegiality, team spirit and intergenerational focus within the gaming industry. An intern program focuses on harnessing the next generation of Australian game designers; they are key players in the implementation of the forthcoming digital technologies curriculum in to schools; and all are keen to be mentors to see this become a career choice on many peoples radar.

I walked away from this adventure in awe of the energy and passion that adds the spark to this industry as well as the cooperation and team spirit that fuels it success…I can’t wait for October.

A huge thanks to Liam Esler from GDAA for taking the time out of his busy schedule to accommodate us and also to Lisy Kane from Girl Geek Academy for making the introductions, it just reinforces the collaboration that is the backbone of gaming success in Melbourne.

Links:

Education in Games Summit 2015 – A Gameful World: http://innovationtoolbox.intel.com.au/intel-events/education-in-games-summit-2015-a-gameful-world/

PAX Melbourne 2015: http://www.paxaustralia.com.au/

GDAA: http://www.gdaa.com.au/

Creative Victoria: http://creative.vic.gov.au/Home

Girl Geek Academy: http://girlgeekacademy.com/