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Game Hugs

A games industry podcast featuring one-on-one interviews with people that have made games their lives. Game Hugs is hosted by Jason Imms, a freelance games and tech journalist with bylines in GameSpot, IGN, Giant Bomb, Kill Screen, CNET, and more. Join Jason on a journey through the lives of people in game development, PR and marketing, journalism, content creation, and more!
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Jun 3, 2018

Liam Routt leads the Games and Digital Media team at Victorian Government screen agency Film Victoria, and is the very special guest joining us on Game Hugs this week!

Film Victoria has played a big part in the re-establishment of the Australian games industry since its crash began back in 2011. Liam started his career in games as a developer, and now fosters the careers of others through his work at the country's most prolific government funding agency.

During the episode, Liam and our host Jason Imms discuss Liam's serpentine career through the games industry, the role Film Victoria has played and continues to play, and how games communities from other parts of the country might work to influence their local funding bodies to follow in Film Victoria's footsteps.

May 7, 2018

On this week's show, Australian freelance games journalist Meghann O'Neil joins our host Jason Imms to discuss her decade of writing for PC PowerPlay Magazine, her belief that all games deserve a chance to be covered, and the challenges of going back to pitching now that the magazine has dropped to quarterly publishing.

Meghann is the intersection of all things indie games, just ask one of the hundred or so designers she met at PAX AU last year. As well as ten years of freelancing for PC Powerplay and (more recently) PC Gamer, she runs a videogame ensemble and composes game music in dynamic structures. Also, if you call the HintTron 3000 in Thimbleweed Park, you’ll be delivered incremental hints, based on Meghann’s guide.

Apr 8, 2018
Vee Pendergrast is a co-founder of Stirfire Studios, but has something of a different perspective on launching and running games studios in Australia.
 
Her background is in business management and finance, meaning she has chosen the games industry not just because making games was her passion, but because she saw it as a highly capable industry.
 
Vee co-founded Stirfire Studios in 2010 while working in tech business development.  Vee has been instrumental in raising seed capital allowing the business to make AGDA-finalist placing game Symphony of the Machine and attempt to IPO, initially in 2017 and opening another offer in 2018. 
 
Join Vee and our host Jason Imms to learn about the wild frontiers of taking indie games studios public, and much more!
Mar 27, 2018

Hello and welcome to... Dog Hugs?

Joining us this week is Angharad "Rad" Yeo, one of the hosts of ABC Me's Spawn Point.

Spawn Point is a (hugely popular in its own right) kids' spin-off of the hugely popular video games coverage show Good Game, which celebrated its tenth and final year of airtime in 2017. Rad is one of three hosts of the show, and joins our host Jason Imms to chat about life as an ABC TV presenter, her musical aspirations, and her utterly gorgeous dog Boatmeal.

Mar 4, 2018

Will Smith is the CEO of FOO VR (they make cartoons in real-time using virtual reality), the host of The FOO Show (a VR talk show), co-host of the Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project podcast, and a former editor of Tested.com.

Will was also the first editor to ever hire our host Jason Imms as a freelance writer! Join the pair to hear them discuss why in the world they took a chance on our intrepid host, as well as Will's long and storied career in tech and games journalism, and the rise and fall of Whiskey Media.

Feb 18, 2018

This week brings to a close our episodes recorded during Game Connect Asia Pacific (GCAP) 2017, with none other than the departing organiser of the event, Liam Esler.

Liam is a bizdev, narrative, and production specialist about to dive into the terrifying world of entrepreneurship. He was formerly the Event Manager for GCAP, and co-founder of GX Australia.

Join our host Jason Imms as he and Liam discuss what GCAP has become and where it came from, and how it was both shaped by, and itself shapes the Australian games industry and community.

Jan 28, 2018

This week, our host Jason Imms is joined (in a Melbourne French for breakfast) by digital copywriter, freelance journalist and professional writer, Patrick Stafford.

Patrick is currently a digital copywriter for MYOB, as well as providing his services on contract under his own brand Stafford Content, and working as a freelance journalist for The Atlantic, Polygon, Eurogamer, Kotaku, and more.

Join Jason and Patrick for insights into the life of a freelance journalist, Patrick's thoughts on a journalist's role in the modern games industry, and what it takes to turn an interesting lead into a widely read long-form feature.

Jan 15, 2018

Matt Trobbiani is an indie game designer and developer, and head at Team Fractal Alligator. Matt created Hacknet, a critically received and popular game released in 2015, which saw players taking on the role of a hacker, penetrating systems, avoiding detection, and madly typing realistic commands in to a virtual console interface.

Join Matt and our host Jason Imms as they took some time for an interview during the otherwise hectic Game Connect Asia Pacific conference, and hear Matt's thoughts on burnout, the pressures of success, and what it takes to get noticed in a saturated marketplace.

Dec 10, 2017

Rami Ismail is the business and development half of Vlambeer, the indie studio responsible for hits like LUFTRAUSERS, Ridiculous Fishing, Nuclear Throne, and more.

He's also well known for supporting the growth of independent game development by travelling the world, speaking at events, and working with and promoting communities in underrepresented regions.

Rami sat with our host Jason Imms during Game Connect Asia Pacific (GCAP) to discuss his history at Vlambeer and combative relationship with his business partner Jan Willem Nijman, having a powerful voice within an industry, and the "industry built on ruins" we have in modern day Australia.

Nov 26, 2017

Adam ‘Pez’ Perry is the host of the Twitch-broadcast You Game Bro? podcast, and founder of the Australasian Gaming Podcast Network. Pez's broadcasting work has led to him securing brand ambassador roles with Lenovo and Intel in Australia and New Zealand, and allowed him to land major sponsorships to support the ongoing creation of the You Game Bro? podcast.

Join Pez and your host Jason Imms as they discuss the benefits and challenges of one-on-one interview-based podcasts, passion-driven media work, and life on the ground as a community manager for Final Fantasy XIV in ANZ.

Nov 13, 2017

David Gaider is a game designer, writer, and narrative designer, with a long and storied history at RPG powerhouse Bioware. Today, David is the creative director at Beamdog, helping to bring enhanced editions of some of the games he worked on back in his Bioware days to modern hardware and audiences.

David recently sat with our host Jason Imms at the Game Connect Asia Pacific conference in Melbourne to talk about his work on Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age, and Knights of the Old Republic, being a reluctant spokesperson for gay representation in games, and what it's actually like to write for a living.

Oct 30, 2017

We have a very special episode for you this week, friends: The inaugural Game Hugs Live, recorded on-stage at PAX Australia 2017!

Joining our host Jason Imms on the stage was Square Enix Montreal creative director Teddy Dief(pronounced “deef,” despite Jason’s horrendous mispronunciations), discussing life as an indie, Glitch City LA, the anxieties of success, and moving away from a lifelong goal of working at Naughty Dog to take a risk on the Kickstarter-funded Hyper Light Drifter.

Oct 15, 2017

This week we welcome Tim Colwill, editor in chief of the hilariously satirical Point & Clickbait to the guest chair. Join him and our host Jason Imms for a trip down memory lane as the pair relive the shuttering of beloved Australian games outlet games.on.net, discuss the dodgy closure of Interzone Games, and come to understand the strange parallels between poking fun at the games industry, and working for the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union.

Oct 1, 2017

In this week's episode, host Jason Imms spoke with excellent GameSpot host and video producer, Jess McDonell about joining one of the biggest games journalism outlets in the world, what to do with your hands on camera, and what it means to work for a truly global outlet.

Sep 18, 2017

Wyld is a Twitch streamer, Minecraft modpack creator, and internet personality who has made a huge career change through entertaining his audience and creating content live on the internet.

Join Wyld and our host Jason Imms as they discuss how a life can change through getting into livestreaming, the challenges and joys of playing games on the internet for a living, and the ethical side of publisher relations and junkets.

Sep 3, 2017

This week's Game Hugs features the founder of Queerly Represent Me, sessional academic at the University of the Sunshine Coast, and freelance games journalist and columnist Alayna Cole.

Alayna joins host Jason Imms for our usual jaunt through the career that has led to her current position in the Australian games industry, as well as something of a rebuttal. In response to Game Hugs Episode 55 with Lisy Kane on the subject of how tertiary education is serving and failing the Australian games industry, Alayna adds her point of view as someone actively working to help her students be the best candidates they can be.

So, join us to hear her side of the story, how her work in mapping queer representation in video games has moved from strength to strength, and for a sobering discussion about working a freelance journalist for the enthusiast press.

Disclaimer: The audio quality of this and the following episode doesn't live up to our usual standards, and for that we apologise. We felt that the discussion as-recorded was worth preserving, however, so please bear with us. Rest assured, the source of this issue has been found and repaired.

Aug 20, 2017

Say hello to Luke Lancaster, who was until recently a well-known Australian associate editor at CNET, before being selected as the new PAX Australia Content Manager, replacing ex-Game Hugs host Guy 'Yug' Blomberg. He's also a co-creator of The Badguys, an excellent weekly webcomic that recently took home the top prize in Stan Lee's POW! Media Superhero Comic Contest.

This episode marks the beginning of a Game Hugs multi-part episode experiment, in which we check in with Luke in the week before he kicks-off his new and high-pressure role, to talk about hopes and fears leading up to taking the help of his first PAX. We'll speak to Luke again after PAX Australia 2017 to see how it all went, and how much of him survived.

Tune in to hear Luke and host Jason Imms discuss journalistic ethics, the realities of working in your dream job, and the power and responsibility that comes with being a focal point for an entire region of game developers.

Aug 6, 2017

Eli Hodapp is the editor in chief of Touch Arcade, the world's largest reviews and news site dedicated to Apple mobile devices. He's also possibly a Juggalo, though the jury is still out on that one.

Join Eli and host Jason Imms this week as they discuss working remotely, American gun culture, and the question of elitism in free-to-play vs. premium games.

Show Notes
Episode 54 with Matt Ditton of Mighty Games featured a related conversation on free-to-play ethics in games.

Jul 23, 2017

As a producer at League of Geeks, co-founder at Girl Geek Academy, and a Forbes 30 Under 30 lister, Lisy Kane doesn't seem to do anything by halves.

Join Jason Imms this week for a chat with Lisy about her incredible and densely accomplished career. Also, the pair take a look at how the Australian education system is both serving and failing the game development industry, internships, and how Armello's intriguing profit-share program works.

Show Notes
Lisy Kane
League of Geeks
Girl Geek Academy

Jul 9, 2017

Matt Ditton is the managing director of the Mighty Games Group (Shooty Skies, Disney Crossy Road, Charming Keep, Charming Runes) and Many Monkeys Development (Breath of Light, ANZ Future Play), both based in The Arcade in Melbourne, Victoria.

Matt is one of Australia's veteran game developers, one of the rare few that stuck around after the industry crash that began in 2010. In fact, his chat with Jason Imms in this episode goes into some depth on what the crash looked like on the ground, as Pandemic Australia and other studios shut down around the country.

Stick around to the end of the episode for a frank discussion on the ethics of free-to-play game design, player entitlement, and the practical realities of running a games studio for profit.

Jun 25, 2017

Ken Wong is the founder and creative director of Mountains, a self-described "craft games studio," based in Melbourne. He's also well known for his work as the lead designer and artist on Ustwo's seminal mobile title, Monument Valley.

In this episode, Ken and Jason discuss his work with Ustwo, being discovered by American McGee, his work on Alice: Madness Returns, and much more.

Jun 12, 2017

Katie Stegs is co-founder and creative director of games PR and marketing agency Lumi Consulting. You might think this would place sufficient burden on Katie's calendar, but NO. Katie has also co-founded Blush Box, a collective of game creators that focuses on romance, love and sexuality, and a symposium and game jam called Heartbeat which hopes to give that community a chance to come together and grow.

In this episode, Jason Imms chats with Katie about her dark caravanning past, what drives her passion for games about passion, the challenges of running a consultancy for small games studios, and more.

May 31, 2017

Guy 'Yug' Blomberg is not only the creator of this fine podcast, but also the newly appointed Global PAX Content Director, ensuring that every PAX show around the world is crammed full of amazing stars, panels, expo booths, and entertainment.

No, Yug won't be interviewing himself - his new role doesn't leave enough time to concentrate on Game Hugs, so this episode will be the first for new host, and past Game Hugs guest, freelance games and tech journalist Jason Imms. You can read the full announcement with our friends over at MCV Pacific.

Listen-in to hear more about Yug's pre-PAX history, his secret porn career, the life and death of the Mana Bar, and the ill-fated TV show Game Damage.

Mar 7, 2017

James Cullinane is the Games Account Manager at CBS Interactive, including sites GameSpot, Giant Bomb, GameFAQs, ComicVine, Metacritic and CNET.

He was previously the Editor of Gameplanet, before becoming the Editorial Director accross both New Zealand and Australian Gameplanet sites.

Feb 26, 2017

Paul Verhoeven is a writer, comedian, host, and storyteller. He co-hosts the popular gaming podcast 28 Plays Later with Kris Straub, is the host of the ABC3 show Steam Punks, and is currently writing the upcoming novel Loose Units.

Previously he was a host and producer of various Triple J programs including The Breakfast Show, Nerdy by Nature, and The Graveyard Shift. He is a regular guest on The Project, Studio 3, and Good Game, having also co-hosted on gaming show Save Point and geek comedy program Planet Nerd.

He has written for The Vine, Junkee, MMGN, and Film Inc, and made his stand up comedy debut in the show Tell Me Lies at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

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