Entering the Arcade

A nod to games arcades of old.

Melbourne’s creative business space The Arcade is a nod to games arcades of old – places peppered with digital wonderment, hints of alternative futures, creative possibilities and technical delights.

Conceived by Anthony Reed, CEO Game Developers’ Association of Australia (GDAA) and launched with support from GDAA and the Victorian Government, today The Arcade is home to more than 35 creative businesses.

Its community is a supportive band of indie game developers, designers and story-tellers, who are producing game titles which are being played by more than 100 million people world-wide.

Speaking to residents of The Arcade unearths passionate tales full of inspiring and entrepreneurial adventures.

Many of their back-stories share similar, exciting threads, including the exciting notion the games industry is not exactly screen culture and not exactly tech culture, it is something other, multifaceted and filled with unlimited creative and business potential.

With Melbourne fast becoming internationally renowned for its game developing talent and its successful participation in one of the most lucrative entertainment industries on the planet (an estimated $115 million revenue was earned by the Australian industry in 2016). The Arcade set-up is valued by both its tenants and its international visitors who regularly visit the location.

Later this month foot traffic at The Arcade – and across Melbourne – is set to soar as national and international visitors arrive to enjoy a diverse games program, designed with industry collaboration, for Melbourne International Games Week 2017 (MIGW17).

The MIGW17 program encompasses a range of industry, education and public events including the annual Game Connect Asia Pacific (GCAP) conference, with international keynotes; the Women in Games Lunch, hosted by Film Victoria; the Education in Games Summit hosted by ACMI and the Department of Education and Training, and PAX AUS – the biggest games expo in the southern hemisphere.

We spoke to some of The Arcades’ residents about working at The Arcade and the upcoming MIGW17 program.

 

photo of Matthew Clark

Matthew Clark, The Voxel Agents

Matthew Clark, Co-founder The Voxel Agents (Train Conductor, The Gardens Between)
What led you to The Arcade?
We were amongst some of the first tenants to move into The Arcade. We’d previously shared an office with Tin Man Games, and Mighty Games Group and really appreciated the support you get when you work in close proximity to other game developers. So, when the idea of a whole building full of game developers surfaced, we jumped!

What are you looking forward to at this year’s MIGW?
MIGW is about showing the rest of the world all of the amazing games, and the talented game developers we have in Australia. People don’t often realise that their favourite game might have been made in city that they live in. Games are such an international force, but we don’t often stop and say “hey, we made this in Melbourne!”. I’m super excited to be showing our latest game The Gardens Between this year at PAX AUS. We’re honoured to be one of six games in the Indie Showcase. I’m looking forward to finally showing what we’ve been working on for the last three years!

 

photo of Trent Kusters, The League of Geeks

Trent Kusters, The League of Geeks

Trent Kusters, Co- Founder and Director The League of Geeks (Armello)
What led you to the Arcade?
The Arcade is an amazing place for creative developers who are ready to commercialise. The value proposition is wild. Just going to the kitchen for a coffee can be a creative launch pad…I travel all the time for my job and the Arcade is known all over the world. A place where original content creators are supporting each other to create successful games for a global market and further the medium we all love.

What are you looking forward to at this year’s MIGW?
MIGW is one of my favourite times of the year. I can’t wait to see friends and business partners from around the world, and continue LoG’s trend of introducing them to the wealth of local talent, returning the hospitality shown to me when I’m on the other side of the globe.

 

photo of Marcus Grambau, Director Valorian Games

Marcus Grambau, Valorian Games

Marcus Grambau, Director Valorian Games (Into Affliction, Ink or Swim)
What led you to The Arcade?
I’ve been with The Arcade for about 18 months. It’s a fantastically supportive place and I’m constantly learning from my neighbours. I started my business a few years ago. I’d been living and working overseas and when I decided to head back to study. I chose to focus on writing and designing games. I was lucky enough to get a grant from Film Victoria to help develop my game ‘Into Affliction’, its design was motivated by my own personal experience living with cystic fibrosis.

What are you looking forward to at this year’s MIGW?
This year I’ve been invited to speak at Game Connect Asia Pacific (GCAP) Conference during MIGW as part of an awesome session called ‘The Four Ages of Indie’. I’m really looking forward the conference generally. You get to meet and learn from amazing developers who come from all around the globe.

 

photo of Katherine Nix-Carnell, Games Programmer Mighty Games

Katherine Nix-Carnell, Mighty Games

Katherine Nix-Carnell – Games Programmer Mighty Games Group (Disney Crossy Road, Questy Quest)
What lead you to The Arcade?
I found out about The Arcade through WiDGET (Women in Development Games & Everything Tech, a not-for-profit organisation supporting those underrepresented in the fields of development and technology) and then I took a series of informal Unity classes, which was run by Lauren Clinnick from Lumi Consulting (another Arcade resident). After which I applied for a job with Mighty Games.

Working in The Arcade is a really lovely atmosphere. There’s quite a bit of ad-hoc collaboration – people will often discuss projects, solutions, and techniques around the coffee machine or in the kitchen, and it’s common to have people wander into other offices to bounce ideas or code solutions off their peers.

What are you most looking forward to doing and seeing at MIGW?
Last year was my first ever MIGW and I was still very new to Unity and C#, so this year I’m quite looking forward to attending some of the technical talks that I felt would have been over my head last year.

I’m equally looking forward to catching up in-person with the interstate friends and colleagues I’ve met online over the past twelve months.

The week is a great opportunity to be exposed to the full breadth of the games industry – not just AAA console or mobile and F2P games, but tabletop (board and card) games, serious games, and indie games. There’s a lot more to games than you probably expect!

To book your #MIGW17 sessions check out the program sessions here.