It comes as a surprise to some that South Africa even has a video game industry, let alone a healthy one. But we do.
Nowhere was this more obvious than at the one-time-only local screening of Us and the Game Industry, a documentary exploring the remarkable creativity that is a hallmark of the indie game world. The showing late last year, made possible by Make Games SA member Peter Cardwell-Gardner, was among the first in the world, and drew a satisfying crowd to Cape Town’s Labia Theatre. “We live in an era marked by the democratisation of creative tools,” said Cardwell-Gardner in the lead-up to the film – and he should know, seeing that he himself is developing the fascinating audio puzzler Cadence under the banner of Made With Monster Love.
It was proper heartening to see the support rallied by the event. A number of SA indie game darlings were there too, including QCF Design (Desktop Dungeons), Free Lives (Broforce), Giant Box Games (Pixel Boy), The Brotherhood (STASIS), Crescent Moon Games (Neon Shadow) and Thoopid Games (Snailboy).
Us and the Game Industry was born in the crowd-forge of Kickstarter, a platform that has provided a vital cash-money jolt to a growing number of games. Through interviews with a number of indie superstars – and assisted by a superb soundtrack – the film manages to convey perfectly the maverick thinking and sophisticated philosophy that marks out this frontier medium.
And the time couldn’t be more right to get involved in the local scene. Ahead of the screening Make Games SA chairperson Nick Hall broke some momentous news: “We are now the officially recognised gaming industry association,” he said, explaining that the development would likely blaze new avenues of government funding for local startups.
Make Games SA holds monthly meet-ups for those who want to get involved, so check out www.makegamessa.com to find out more. Like, forthwith.