Early on a chilly Friday morning, a small band of hardy IT students from FedUni Gippsland met at the Churchill campus, eager to embark on a journey of epic proportions. The plan was to drive from Churchill to Ballarat to attend the 10th annual Get into Games (GiG) Expo being held at the Mining Exchange building in the far-off land of Ballarat. Wide-eyed and with a sense of adventure, five willing adventurers climbed into my rusty trusty vehicle and we set off at 5:30am (is that really a time? Who knew you could be up so early?!) for a three-and-a-half-hour journey.
The journey was rather uneventful as we were lucky enough to avoid the worst of Melbourne’s peak ‘hour’ traffic, and despite some questionable navigation advice from one of the members of our party, we made it to the venue shortly before the doors opened at 9:00am. Not knowing what to expect, we shuffled anxiously outside while we waited for the doors to be flung open.
Once inside, we gawped at the magnificence of the building and found our way to FedUni’s stands, where we made our introductions and took some time to gain our bearings. Grant Meredith and his merry band of volunteers made us feel welcome before he set us loose to wreak havoc on explore the exhibition.
Fighting our way through hordes of high school children, we spent some time visiting each of the displays available and talking to whomever we could. One of the highlights for me was watching my fellow students as they played some retro games on ’ancient‘ hardware — the type of video games I grew up with as a child. Apart from the retro gear, there were displays with some interesting applications of VR technology, some robotics and of course, plenty of modern computers and consoles with the latest games for the students to play and enjoy.
The day wasn’t just about playing games of course. There were several speakers from the games industry who gave talks inspiring those present to pursue a career in the industry. We learned about the wide variety of roles for those interested in getting into the industry — everything from programmers and artists, to writers and musicians, and even marketing and social media roles.
After a very long day at the expo, we all bundled back into the car for the journey home. Unfortunately, this time we hit peak traffic and it wasn’t until sometime after 8:00pm that we finally made it back home.
All in all, this was a very productive and informative trip for all involved. We learned a lot about the various roles available in the games industry, we got to play some fun games and we also got a chance to interact with some of our Ballarat brethren. Next year we will be back in force, bringing more students —so watch out Ballarat! 8^)
I would like to thank Sarah Prime (Scholarships Officer) for arranging a Leadership Grant to pay for our travel expenses. We could not have made this trip without Sarah’s wonderful help.
by Amos Bannister