2014 In Review: The Year Of Things Happening

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What’s funny is that I’ve been repeatedly making jokes about not doing a review like this, but after being specifically asked to do a review of my professional year, I figured: why the hell not. Let’s be nostalgic. My personal life in 2014 was very tumultuous with the bereavement of two family members within a very short period of time, and in general the year itself was extremely up-and-down with a mix of amazing opportunities and incredibly difficult challenges. However, I’m looking forward to 2015 to be a great year – also with a lot of expected change – and I’m excited to see what it brings.

  • I wrote for IndieStatik for the majority of the year, mostly covering interesting developments in the #screenshotsaturday hashtag and indie visual novels in separate weekly columns.
  • I was listed as an Honourable Mention in Develop’s 30 Under 30 in the games industry, which was a huge honour.
  • I started to stream my game art asset work on Twitch regularly, which has become a ritual for me (especially since the introduction of the Game Development category) – and I hit over 500+ followers.
  • I organised and ran a conference from scratch called RhineDev in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. It focused on interesting/unique topics within three tracks (design, technical and advocacy) and for a first time conference AND a conference during which the entire German railway went on strike, it went incredibly well. Wide variety of topics, 120+ attendees. We’ll be doing this again.
  • I attended Casual Connect Amsterdam with the Hammer Labs team, which in itself was an amazing experience. I then wrote a scathing article about the associated industry parties afterwards which generated some interesting discussion (using baby tigers, etc).
  • Through the generosity of an amazing friend, I was able to attend GDC San Francisco and make a huge amount of connections with others, as well as learn a huge deal. This was one of the best experiences of my life, actually! Apart from being punched by a person who really wanted a hot dog.
  • I gave talks/was on panels at:
    • The Sheffield International Documentary Festival – ‘Do Games Tell It Better?’ w/ Leigh Alexander, Ste Curran, Ed Stern & Darren Garrett
    • AMAZE Berlin 2014 – German Indie Arena Microtalks & the Gaming Press Panel (w/ Cara Ellison, Chris Priestman, Dennis Kogel & Anjin Anhut)
    • RhineDev 2014 – ‘The Real Evil Within: the struggle with portrayal of mental health in games’
    • Free to Play Antwerp – ‘Local and Remote Play: building community up close and from a distance’
    • Cologne Game Lab (lecture) – ‘Indie Gaming Press and You’
    • Respawn 2014 – ‘That Jam We‘re In – a discussion on potentials and limits of Game Jams’ – w/ Anna Kipnis, Martin Nerurkar, Alexander Zacherl & Michael Indyk,
  • I attended GDC Europe and Gamescom, which was both tiring and amazing.
  • I participated in a loooot of game jams:
  • I ran a loooot of game jams:
  • Actually, running Asylum Jam again this year (its second year) meant a lot to me and I’m glad that a lot of the participants both enjoyed themselves, and got a lot of exposure from the media playing their games afterwards. As my stepsister took her own life in September, just weeks before the jam started, raising awareness for negative stereotypes/harmful stereotypes of mental health because a lot more intimately important for me.
  • I released probably the world’s first mermaid bra simulator game, Bras and Balls. While the game isn’t the world’s most fun game for a number of reasons, it was an interesting exercise in a.) finishing a project and b.) creating a game about an issue that was intimately female, but still enjoyable by other genders.
  • Started Group Pug, my indie studio.
  • I kinda helped out with the Screenshake IndieGoGo! Yay!
  • I started a Patreon halfway through the year, which has enabled me to keep organising stuff and plodding along as it covers my health insurance (the biggest bill that I have, and consequently where all my money goes).
  • Started Women in Games NZ with two great colleagues, Mike Porter (Media Design School) and Tara Brannigan (PikPok). Already neat things are happening there!
  • I made the Indie Whipping Bot, which people either love or hate for his unconditional dislike for lack of productivity. Should probably update that.
  • Started a Youtube channel called ‘The Velvet Throne‘, to fill the hole I have in my soul for highlighting small, neat indie games the way they deserve. Need to figure out how to make video editing take less time.
  • I met a load of amazing people, new friends, new colleagues, travelled a bunch, plotted heaps, and wow. I’m excited to face the new year with all of you by my side. Thank you, as always, for all your support and encouragement.

– Lucy