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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Game Hugs




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Oct 15, 2018

Wadjet Eye Games founder Dave Gilbert has been interested in adventure games since 1986, when his mother made the mistake of buying him a copy of Infocom’s Wishbringer. Fifteen years later, he discovered the Adventure Game Studio engine and began making his own ever since.

Dave joins our host Jason Imms this week to discuss how he moved from a career in the garmet industry to running one of the most prolific adventure game studios and publishers in the world.

Aug 26, 2018

Robert Yang is an assistant arts professor at NYU Game Center, and makes "surprisingly popular 3D video games about gay culture and sexuality."

Known best for his work on The Tearoom, Rinse and Repeat, and Cobra Club, Yang believes that it's important for game creators to include sexuality in their games, despite the fact that it's not always easy to do so.

Join Yang and our host Jason Imms as they discuss his games' persistent bans from the Twitch streaming platform, why he makes the types of games he makes, and what it means to create games that feature sexuality for more than simple titillation.

Jun 27, 2018

Our guest this week is Shang Lun Lee (李尚倫), one of the directors of PlayReactive, a "play-making" collective based in Melbourne, producing video games, interactive theatre, and installation pieces.

Shang Lun is also a former director of the long-running Freeplay independent games festival, and most importantly to this episode, an incredible thinker.

Join our host Jason Imms as he chats with Shang Lun about privilege, why we make games, how the structures we put in place to support our work can also hurt us, and what it means to make games outside of the industry.

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!
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 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.

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.

Feb 19, 2017

Kamina Vincent is the Producer at Mountains, a new studio featuring the talents behind games such as Monument Valley and Cuphead.

She has volunteered at almost even gaming event in Australia from Freeplay, Transmedia Victoria, Global Game Jam, GDC, and GCAP - the later of which she eventually went on to organise and coordinate volunteers.

She has worked for Tin Man Games, originally as a QA Tester, then Community Manager, and eventually Producer.

Jan 29, 2017

Krister Collin is an award-winning game developer, having worked for Flat Earth Games, Epiphany Games, and Well Placed Cactus.

He is the organiser of the monthly IGDA Sydney Beer & Pixel events, and is a Game Design Teacher at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment.

Jan 22, 2017

Dan Graf is an indie game developer who most recently teamed up with Featherweight Games to make Rodeo Stampede, a game which has had over 50 million downloads and was awarded Apple's Top 10 Games of 2016, and Google Play's Most Innovative 2016.

Prior to his recent success, he was a Product Manager and Game Designer at Halfbrick Studios working on Fruit Ninja Champions, a Story Unit Artist at Dr D Studios working on films such as Happy Feet 2 and Max Max: Fury Road, 3D Artist on the Half Life 2 mod Dystopia, and was also the founder of the IGDA Sydney. He has also worked as a designer, artist, animator, writer and director for many other developers, businesses, and associations.

Oct 23, 2016

Dean Longmore is the Lead Learning and Content Designer for Global English, and the Designer/Programmer of the iOS title Station Stop.

Dean was a Game Designer for Team Bondi, where he worked on the Rockstar Games published title L.A.Noire. He was the Lead Content Designer at IntoScience working across science education based games, and was also the Lead Game Designer at Saudi Arabian studio Semaphore.

Oct 3, 2016

Phil Larsen is the Managing Director at game developer Prettygreat (Land Sliders).

He was previously the Chief Marketing Officer for Halfbrick Studios, working on the launches of Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride, Colossatron, Raskulls, and more. Prior to that he was a games writer for PALGN and AustralianGamer.

Sep 26, 2016

Morgan Jaffit is the Creative Director of Defiant Development, the creators of the Hand of Fate series.

Prior to starting his own studio, Morgan was the Assoc Creative Director at Pandemic Studios, Lead Designer at A2M, Writer at Ubisoft Montreal, Game Designer at Relic Entertainment, and Game Designer / Writer at Irrational Games.

He is a pillar of the Australian games industry, having worked both locally and abroad for over a decade on such titles as Freedom Force, Homeworld 2, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Teen Titans, and Hand of Fate - the sequal to which will be released early next year.

Sep 5, 2016

Sally Kellaway is the Senior Audio Designer at Zero Latency, Co Chair for the IGDA Virtual Augmented and Mixed Reality Special Interest Group, Technical Evangelist for Firelight Technologies (FMOD), and Sound Designer / Educator for her self named consultancy company.

One of the stars in the digital audio industry, she initially started as a QA Tester for the Creative Assembly, before moving on to become their Junior Audio Designer and Motion Capture Technician. She went on to be an Audio Assistant at SEGA Studios Australia, working on the London 2012 Olympic Games video game.

She has also worked as a Media Co-ordinator at Media Circus, Account Executive at OMD Australia, and Sales and Marketing Coordinator for Sound Librarian.

Aug 22, 2016

Nic Watt is the Founder and Chief Design Officer at Sydney based developer and publisher Nnooo.

Originally developing games in the UK, he worked as an Artist/Designer for Supersonic Software, World Lead at Asylum Entertainment, Lead Designer at Visual Science, and Lead Designer at Electronic Arts.

Aug 15, 2016

Trent Kusters is the Co-Founder & Director of League of Geeks, the studio that recently released Armello.

Entrepreneurial by nature, he built and managing multiple companies before moving across to become a Lead Designer at Torus Games, then Creative Director at Divisive Media.

He is also currently an Industry Advisor for DiGRA Australia, Lecturer (Game Writing) for the Victorian College of Arts, and is a Board Member on the Freeplay Independent Games Festival.

Aug 1, 2016

Christopher Yabsley is a Composer and Developer, currently the working on the soon to be released Dungeon League - a competitive dungeon crawler party game.

Jun 20, 2016

Derek Proud is the Director of Garoo Games, member of the board game entertainment group the Dicestormers, and is currently working with Start VR on new VR game experiences.

Over a 25 year career in the games industry he has worked as a producer and project manager for SEGA Ozisoft, Electronic Arts, THQ (and THQ Studio Australia), and KMM Interactive.

He's worked with a wide range of games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Total War, Harry Potter, Rugby, Destroy All Humans, Happy Feet 2, and through to the unreleased Whore of the Orient.

May 30, 2016

Izzy Gramp is a game developer for Geeiz Games, currently developing the soon to be released Intergalactic Space Princess.

Programming since the age of 14, Izzy has been involved in numerous industry incubator and support programs, having been an IGDA scholar and Microsoft game changer, which led to attending E3 and GDC.

Izzy has a history of serious game development, including 'Faceless' - an empathy game about asylum seekers, and 'All Your Fault' - a game about victim blaming.

Additionally Izzy is an accredited photographer, having taken professional photos of almost every Aussie game developer so far!

May 9, 2016

Joshua Boggs is one of the founding members of Loveshack Entertainment, the indie developer behind the award winning game Framed. He is a skilled business manager, designer, programmer, and game director.

He previously worked at Firemint, across titles such as Flight Control, Real Racing, and SPYmouse.

Apr 18, 2016

Tony Albrecht is a Senior Software Engineer at RIOT Games, and is an Aussie game development veteran. He's worked as Engine Lead at Ratbag Games (followed by Midway Studios Australia), Senior Programmer at Pandemic Studios, and as a Technical Consultant at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

Through his company Overbyte, he specialised in programming and optimization for a wide variety of companies, including THQ, 2K Games, Insomniac Games, Wargaming, and more.

Jan 26, 2016

Dan Hindes is the Editor & Game Designer of Sneaky Bastards, who are currently in production of the upcoming game Wildfire.

Previously he was the Editor of Gamespot Australia and the Editor of PC Powerplay.

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