2013 ends as far from it began as I think it is possible to be. It began as a year of consolidation and ended as a year of big changes. What follows isn’t everything, it’s just what has stuck with me the most as I’ve pored back through my notes & calendar entries from the year.

Continue reading 2013

On moving on.

Trying to write about leaving is incredibly hard. Each time I’ve sat down to do it since we made our decision earlier this year, I’ve found myself questioning what it is I want to say. Seeking inspiration, I read accounts of people leaving Australia and their own perspectives, but none quite connected with me. Giving in to self-indulgence, I tried to place the 13 years of living here in some sort of context alongside the evolution of Australian and international game development, but it became unwieldy even as it revealed things I’d never quite articulated.  Trying to separate out the personal, I reflected on the recent stories about Australia’s games brain drain and how government funding aims to change that. Then finally, I explored my own relationship to making things, digging into the swing of my own bouts of ambivalence towards games and the ways that it broadened my perspectives towards writing and teaching, led me to Freeplay, and expanded the horizons of what it meant for me to not only make games, but to be a creative and cultural citizen of a city.

But each draft, focusing on one thing over another, emphasising something and deemphasising another, in their own way all felt smaller than the sum of their parts. Then, when I tried to include everything, they became unwieldy, self-indulgent, and ultimately too imprecise.

So I went back and forth, and as I did, the drafts kept spiralling back around to the same point. As I fought against it and tried to say more, the drafting process did what it was supposed to and pared things back, revealing more accurately what was sitting at the heart of everything.

Continue reading On moving on.

A followup on gender diversity…

This post is a followup to my earlier post describing my own personal response to the way the discussion around diversity in games rolled out, and how we approached it at Freeplay in 2012.

For the past few years – since at least the previous ABS stats in 2007 which recorded Australian Game Development employees at 1431, with 1277 (89.2%) male and 154 (10.8%) were female – sections of the videogame community have been on multiple, occasionally overlapping, occasionally divergent, active quests which have changed their public relationships – community organisations have formed; industrial groups have pursued governments & the public eye; events and exhibitions have bound themselves more fully to the wider questions of culture and art; and consumer advocates have lobbied for the alignment of classification systems.

Continue reading A followup on gender diversity…

On recent events…

I had planned to archive this blog this weekend. Having not blogged in over a year, recently deciding to return to the UK, and feeling like there wasn’t much more I wanted to say, it was time to shutter things up and board the doors.

Oh well.

This post is quite long so I’ve split it into two parts.

The first contains my thoughts on gender & diversity, brought to the fore by a recent interview with the Game Developer’s Association of Australia’s CEO and the description – now updated so this link is to an external article containing before and after images – of a panel at the upcoming PAX Australia.

The second contains my thoughts on games & education, responding primarily to comments in the initial interview.

Continue reading On recent events…

IGTM, R18+, Social Games, and Game Masters

I’m buried in putting Freeplay together and haven’t really found time to blog, which is a shame because this year has been fascinating for games locally and there’s lots to be said. Luckily, other people have said interesting things which means I can just link to them 🙂

Continue reading IGTM, R18+, Social Games, and Game Masters

Some thoughts on games based learning…

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development recently published their research findings form their games based learning trials. The results were incredibly positive – and as the person brought into design and run the Game Development strand, incredibly gratifying. There’s more detail in the shape of the program in a talk I gave at the 2011 Screen Futures conference.

Continue reading Some thoughts on games based learning…

The strange life of festivals…

Yesterday, Freeplay 2012 was announced, and along with it, the news that it will be my last festival. The decision to leave and the launch has got me thinking about the roles of festivals as they relate to other creative realms, to me personally, and how Freeplay fits into both of those things as well as the surrounding game creation & playing culture and community.

Rambling thoughts follow…

Continue reading The strange life of festivals…

What is with all the gaming, guys?

Like many of you, I read the piece in Fairfax media titled ‘The Games We Play’ about men and their gaming habits. I’m not going to link to it here, but you can easily find it with a quick google or twitter search. As Dan Golding over at Crikey has already pointed out, it feels like a continuation of an easy media narrative about games and those who play them. I also think that the responses from the gaming community are part of their own evolving media narrative which contains its own collection of faultlines – especially the industry-centric focus and language, but I’ve written about the use of that particular word many times and won’t revisit it here.

But, despite all that, I think that buried somewhere in the piece, the article does actually have a point. All media has an influence on us, and there are metaphors and ways of thinking about the world embedded in the systemic and thematic structures of games, and we should be conscious of them as adults when playing games, just as we should be conscious of the messages from the endless whirlpool of media that makes up modern life. We discuss and teach media literacy as ways of decoupling, understanding, and immunising ourselves from the subtle and not so subtle messages bombarding us, but we rarely talk about games literacy in the same way. I think we should, and I think, somewhere, deep in the piece, that’s what it’s trying to get at. It is buried though, and what it is buried beneath is what I find problematic.

Continue reading What is with all the gaming, guys?


Before writing this blog post reflecting on the talks & articles I’ve written this year, I felt as though I’d only really had a single idea this year and that I’d endlessly explored and reiterated it through everything I’d written and said – the notion that the way we locally talk about the games industry is perhaps not the best model for all types of creative endeavor we might want to undertake or explore and that we should be looking for other lenses through which to view the world.

I certainly did talk a lot about that, but in reading through my other thoughts, and trying to construct some sort of yearly narrative, something unexpected is in there too – something still aligned with that single idea (there was no escaping it), but one that makes me feel slightly better about drawing repeatedly from that well.

Continue reading 2011…