By Dolly Rairigh Glass
With continued growth each year, 2012 was an extraordinarily fulfilling year for Serious Games Showcase and Challenge because of international expansion. “It was really an ‘aha’ moment for us because there were a lot of Serious Games groups around the world, but not very many who offered challenge opportunities like we did,” said Kent Gritton, SGS&C co-founder. “We thought by partnering with different venues it was a great way to help advocate the advancement of Serious Games.”
SimTECT was the first international partner for SGS&C and they launched their Challenge in 2012 to highlight the best talents from Australia and New Zealand.
“The Serious Games Showcase & Challenge allows us to see the diversity of the Australasian Games and Simulation community, working together to solve real life problems in an entertaining, innovative and informative way,” said Adrian Webb, Manager of Virtual Worlds, Australian Defence Simulation and Training Centre.
The inaugural SimTECT winners that took part in SGS&C at I/ITSEC were business entry, Knowledge Quest by Media Saints; and student entry, GeoThermal World by HITLab New Zealand and Driedfrog Ltd.
Gritton explained that although SGS&C has met and briefed several groups over the past few years, it hasn’t picked up traction as quickly as he hoped it would.
“I think the groups we’re meeting are very excited about the potential to host their own challenge and partner with us, but there is a lot involved in organizing and executing a Challenge,” Gritton said. “The people on our committee are all volunteers, and as a group we’re very organized, but that’s evolved over the last 10 years to get us where we are today.”
“We share our knowledge and processes with potential partners, yet taking on a challenge, particularly with a start up group, can be daunting,” he said. “Initiating expansion was one of the best initiatives our group has taken, so we’ll keep reaching out where it makes sense, and encouraging international participation.”
This year, SGS&C will welcome The BIG Festival, Brazil’s Independent Games Festival, as the newest international partner and the biggest festival of independent games in Latin America.
“This really gets to the heart of why we do this,” Gritton said. “It’s all about being an advocate for Serious Games and we’re excited to see a South American entrant. We began talking with their representatives more than a year ago, and at the time it didn’t seem like they would be able to proceed.