By Brandon Dwyer
Arizona Community Press | www.azcommunitypress.org
Last Tuesday I took a trip down to Game CoLab. I braved the summer heat and drove to a large non-descript warehouse in South Phoenix. After a few minutes of looking for the building, I ran into Graeme Bayless (E-line Media Phoenix) who was looking for the same business. After a few minutes we were shown the door by another guest and greeted by Game CoLab founder Ben Reichert. Ben graciously led us into the space.
Game CoLab is a community workspace; a place for independent video game developers to meet, work, and collaborate.
I knew from going to local events around the area that gamers were really dispersed and doing really cool stuff. So why not create a space where they can gather,” said Ben Reichert, when describing one of his reasons for creating Game CoLab.
Ben was also concerned with the lack of professional game makers in the various meet-ups throughout the valley. Ben hopes that Game CoLab will also become a hub where experienced game makers can mentor the independent producers.
To prove this point Ben, and his business partner Joseph Darnell offer “Osmosis”. Osmosis is a chance for experienced business professionals to take the stage and share in their knowledge. Tonight’s speakers were Dr. Collin Sellman (Director of Data Science in the K-12 division of Pearson Education) and Graeme Bayless (too excited to even mention his official title of E-line Media Phoenix). Dr. Sellman offered a great presentation on data analysis and how it can be used to improve your game along with some insightful questions to ask before and after game release. Mr Bayless offered some terrific information about his games in development and how to retain and incentivize video game users. Each presentation was easy to follow and fun. Even a layman like myself could understand.
After the presentations I briefly spoke with Dr. Sellman about CoLab. Speaking about the game demo night on June 29th, “It was amazing to see all these people who have never connected together.” He is a big supporter of Game CoLab and sees it as a great place for independent game makers to tap into the game development culture. “I want to see what I can do to help CoLab. I believe it helps us all.” When asked if he will continue to offer lectures, he responded in the positive. “I hope so. I told Ben and Joseph, ‘if there is anything I can do, I’m willing to do it.’”
I also had some time to speak with Marcus Brown, founder and CTO of Precision Mojo. He found out about Game CoLab through various meet-up groups. He was excited for a space that was dedicated to game development. He even signed up before CoLab officially opened. “The building is great, the work space is great,” Marcus said. When asked if he was more productive at CoLab than his home, his response was “Definitely.” He also gave out some tips on the unofficial etiquette of CoLab (which I’m happy to break the code of silence on). If you see someone with their headphones on, “wait till the end of the day to ask questions. Talk in the morning or at the end of the day, but respect the space.”
I had a good time at Game CoLab. I think it is a great idea; an idea that everyone I spoke to hopes will take off. Basic memberships start at only $10.00 per month.
We might not be Austin, or Silicon Valley, or even Montreal, but we are hoping to make Phoenix a better place for independent game developers.” – Ben Reichert
Web address: http://www.gamecolab.org
Address: 605 East Grant Street, Suite 102, Phoenix, AZ, 85004 United States
Business Hours: M-F 10am-10pm