The Newfoundland chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) held their first public meeting this weekend in St John’s. The IGDA is a large, non-profit membership organization serving the community of video game creators, with the goal to improve their lives and craft. As a local chapter they aim to support and improve the video game industry in Newfoundland.
Entering the event venue, YellowBelly Brewery, it was obvious that there was an enthusiastic audience from the game development community and public as there was barely enough seats for all the attendees.
Keith Makse, Producer at Other Ocean Interactive, organized the event and was willing to take a moment to explain the chapters’ purpose and goals.
KM: “The purpose that we are looking for is to have a monthly event that we’re going to be hosting, so that whether it’s a meet & greet and talk shop, or ask questions, [making known] what are your intents on getting into the industry, to having industry speakers come out and actually talk to a group of people here in Newfoundland (speakers being more of a quarterly or biannual experience). [Our main goal] being a monthly meeting that people can come out to and attend if they have time. We do not force memberships on anybody, it’s come out and have fun – hopefully people will be able to form [industry] relationships here.
What our hope is, is that we can raise the awareness of the industry in St John’s, and the rest of the province. Making sure that people are aware that there is an industry here, that we’re raising that industry, and that people know where to go when they have a need for resources. Whether they are trying to strike it out on their own, or want to get a job in the industry, or they want to figure out where they want to go to school in order to work in the industry. Our hope is that we are able to attract all of those people, and give them that helping hand. Whether their a student or a company, and they want to raise their own profile or raise the company, with their growing and expanding, [helping to point to] where the access to the funding is that’s out there. Doing [IGDA Newfoundland Chapter meetings] such as this, is good because people know where they actually meet up with other [industry] people, if they don’t [know where to meet] then they’re probably not going to make their dreams come true.”
Taking a moment to further discuss the importance of the local IGDA meeting I caught up with Colin Walsh of Celsius Game Studios.
CW: “I thought it was really good. It’s great to get people interested in the industry, and realize that there is all this amazing stuff going on. That I think a lot of people don’t know what is happening. Hopefully it will lead to a better awareness of the games industry in Newfoundland and it will continue to grow.”
As I left the IGDA Newfoundland Chapter meeting the attendees were still chatting about game design, platforms, and the industry. I think that the video game industry in Newfoundland is setting up for an exciting future.