Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice
Idea Sex in the Dream Factory

Colin Rowsell | 15 Jan 2008 12:08
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Bridging educators will sometimes talk about career horizons, about how realizing that something is genuinely possible is a huge step toward attaining it. The vast gulf of expectations between Richard Taylor, Gino Acevedo and Lucy Cant is living proof that finally, in our little polar paradise, there's a dream factory pathway to follow. Things have moved beyond that pioneer stage where a group of enthusiasts had to make a leap of faith into the unknown. Now, if you're good and you work hard and you're just a little bit lucky, it can be a career. As both Cant and Acevedo note, there's an incredible strangeness and excitement about this that's hard to convey in words.

And it's catching.

The idea sex goes well beyond the walls of Weta. In a tightly woven environment like Wellington where everything from tectonic plates to the local council has something to say, you can't just drop in a dream-factory candy store with no effect. This is a place where the only option available used to be politics, with its ranks and levels and hierarchies and utterly obscure scoring systems.

Finally, there's a new game in town.

For years, Taylor had been calling for a sustainable creative industry with pathways and an investment base, and now it seems one is appearing. Spin-offs even include a homegrown Wellington game development company, Sidhe Interactive, which started with gems like Barbie Beach Vacation and has made it to some award-winning sports titles and original content, including the PS3/PSP/Xbox Live release Gripshift.

I wonder if this is what Hollywood was like at some imaginary point in time. Hollywood: where a group of dreamers, capitalists, sirens, geniuses and madmen converged on another piece of land near the Pacific to follow their interests and build an empire. I wonder if the leeches, scabs and bottom feeders are circling, ready to move in and destroy it. If we'll find some kind of antidote. If they're already here.

If they're us.

Last Mile
There's a strange smell around people who are doing exactly what they want. It's something a little bit like sausages. Or maybe lemon. Either way, it's rare and difficult to bottle. And tough to write about.

Wellington right now: an outpost near the back end of Antarctica, a mad testament to the idea that not all the action is Somewhere Else. That if you get the conditions right, you can interbreed creativity, business and surroundings until the line between "film unit," "special effects workshop," and "game development studio" blurs to the point of vanishing. That maybe the best way to build a sustainable creative environment isn't to hire identical clones and give them fixed jobs, but to find smart, interesting people who follow their interests, put them in a fresh landscape, and let them fertilize.

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Perhaps, God help us, the way to grow the games business and make better games is not to put 100 young men in a room together and then tell them to excrete another shooter.

But I digress. It's good to know that the maniacs up the road at the end of the Earth are having fun. Hell, let's follow them, head into the Wellington hills, hunt down some elves with blaster rifles. We might just catch that thing that's going around, the follow your interests and fuck the bureaucrats virus we're all just dying to be infected with.

The door to the candy store is open.

Colin Rowsell is a writer, strategist and very bad Dance Dance Revolution player. He can be contacted on giantmonkeyvirus@gmail.com

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