Ladies in Gaming Panel
I had not quite a dream, but an idea. The EB Expo (video games exhibition run annually in Aus – like the local E3) was coming up and I was pondering how Geek Bomb would cover it. Instead of getting interviews with the games devs (something I’d focused on entirely at E3) I wanted to take a different approach. I wanted to hold a panel with influential and iconic females in the Australian gaming industry to share their experiences, their story and provide advice for those wishing to follow their footsteps into a male-dominated industry. I ran the idea by Kelsey Gamble who worked in EB’s social media, who loved the idea. She was also in charge of the Community Hub, a sizeable space filled with arcade machines, Love Sac lounges and – what do you know – a stage.
With the green light given by EB, I needed to find appropriate panelists. A few I knew immediately. During my years in this industry I’d met a few who resonated with me straight away. That, and the accomplishments they’d made were undeniably huge. Stephanie Bendixsen, co-host of Good Game and G:SP on ABC 2/3 respectively was one. She was pretty much the first female gamer to become a successful presenter – on a video games show. It’s no mean feat, especially in a country that was quite slow on the uptake with free-to-air gaming content. She was keen, but needed to run it by the series creator and EP Janet Carr. So without any hesitation – I extended the invitation to Janet too. She has seen 8 seasons of Good Game air on television. She expanded it out to Spawn Point for the younger market – which has boomed. She’s the Mumma of the gaming industry! She said yes, for both. RIPPER!
At this stage I realised I had the television media side of gaming quite well covered,
both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. The goal became to cover all aspects of the industry. I’d put it out there on Geek Bomb’s twitter and facebook pages to see who everyone wanted up there. Rebecca Fernandez’ name was thrown about often. She studied programming and went on to create Convict Interactive – her very own indie label to make games. Luckily for me, she was also keen on being involved. With the notion of studying games entering my mind, I was told about Kirsty Sculler. Not only did her passion for cosplay lead her to study about video games, but she went on to become a lecturer at that university. Excited that she could tackle discussions on tertiary education as a teacher and student, I asked her to be a panelist.
Online is a huge part of the gaming industry and I’d recently met Tash Richards, founder and editor-in-chief of Save Game at a game event. She had such a great story to tell on our first encounter – not only did she live in Brisbane (away from the gaming capital of Aus – Sydney), but she had a doctorate in psychology. WOAH. One smart cookie! I was keen to get her to offer advice for many walking her path of wanting to make more of a website, which she (thankfully!) obliged.
Last but not least – PR is an integral part of the gaming industry, although a lot of people don’t really understand what their job entails. Snezana Stojanovska (Regional EA PR Manager, Asia) has been working in the Australian Games Industry for over eight years, spending four years managing the PR at 2K Games for Australia and New Zealand, so who better to talk about what it’s like being in PR in this industry! She’s incredibly well-spoken and I wanted her there to offer advice for getting started in this line of work.
The panel took place in the Community Hub (Kelsey’s pet project) at midday. Huge shout outs of support must go out to Jason & Dave from New Game Plus who assisted with the sound, Chris Veljanovski & his mates Chris & Aaron who filmed it, (Chris painstakingly edited the video – you can catch him at @Kamidogu_com), Kelsey, Morph at the guys running the EB hub and to the lovely panelists! Shout out also to Mary “JipD” King who lent her expertise when it came to eSports.
Hopefully we’ll be back next year: bigger and better.
Watch the panel in full here: