Sydney’s first ever GX Australia takes place this weekend, and ahead of the event, Stevivor sat down with local developers and event sponsors, Nnooo, to discuss its importance.
According to Bruce Thomson, Nnooo’s Marketing Director, there are myriad reasons to support GX Australia.
“It’s important because Blast ’em Bunnies is about to be released; it’s a show where we can tell people they can buy this in a week – and that’s fantastic. Most of the shows you attend, you don’t have a release date, and you can’t tell people when it’s coming out. It’s hard sometimes to keep that buzz going. The second thing is, it’s in Sydney. We don’t get a lot of shows, or game expos, in Sydney — we want to be supportive of that.”
Another reason hits closer to the spirit of GX Australia itself.
“Thirdly, we are gay partners that are developers. This is an LGTBI+ friendly game show. We really feel that we need to be supportive of that. It’s the first time [for GX] outside of the US, and they brought it to Sydney. It’s really a no-brainer for us,” Thomson said.
The no-brainer meant that Nnooo signed on as an event sponsor, joining the likes of Flat Earth Games, Obsidian Entertainment, Firemonkeys, the Game Developers Association of Australia and more to ensure the event was able to take place.
“They had the Kickstarter and we became a sponsor; that allowed to help us to help them secure a deposit for a venue,” Thomson explained. “We’re doing as much as we possibly can to speak to others, and other businesses, on behalf of GX.”
“It’s important for so many reasons,” Nnooo’s Founder and Creative Director, Nic Watt, reiterated. “I think, if you’re not the target demographic for the show, it might be hard to understand why it’s important. I think what we’ve got to realise is that everyone wants to play games; that’s the ideal.
“We grow up in a very straight world. So, there’s a large amount of yourself that you have to change, or adapt to, or suppress a little bit because there are idiots out there that don’t like your lifestyle. Or, are likely to comment on who you are or say something. It’s not that everyone has to dress up in rainbow colours and dance and sing and all that; sometimes, you just want to be able to let your hair down and relax. You don’t want to have to worry about someone coming up to you and calling you a fag, or a poof or insult you or boo you.”
“Having spaces, having shows like this isn’t saying no one else is allowed to come along,” Watt stressed. “We really want to support that.”
It’s not just important for LGBTI+ video game enthusiasts, but for the industry as a whole, Watt continued.
“As the industry gets bigger, it needs to support diversity. It’s more apparent that there are more women playing games than ever before. As their voice starts to rise, we as developers need to listen and cater to it. We need to provided spaces so people can feel safe doing what they’re doing, so they can enjoy games, have a great experience doing that and not have to worry about anything else.”
While PAX Australia’s Diversity Lounge is a great step in that same vein, Thomson stressed that a dedicated show like GX Australia is still necessary.
“We get asked by our friends why we need this type as show,” he explained. “I say, ‘As long as people feel uncomfortable going to bigger shows, then we’ll need this type of show.’ And people do.
“Somebody might say, ‘Well, I don’t have a problem with anyone who’s queer coming along to a straight show,’ and that’s great! A lot of people don’t, but some people do. And while we have that, we have a need for these shows, and we will fully support these types of shows with our attendance and our sponsorship.”
“I think, also, there are times when you need different spaces for different things,” Watt added. “You watch football in a football stadium. Baseball in a baseball stadium. And no one argues with you about that, because that’s fine. You’re with like-minded people when you go and do that. We’re just creating different spaces so people can do that. Why is that a big deal?”
That said, GX Australia might not be necessary in the future.
“The ultimate goal is for everyone in life is to be chilled out, relaxed and themselves,” Watt said. “We’re moving closer and closer to that every day.”
“I don’t define myself as purely as gay,” he said. “Being gay is only one facet of myself. I’m Scottish, I’m kinda white, I’m gay – it’s just another aspect. I don’t specifically want to define myself by any one of those criteria more than the other.”
“For us, there always is, unfortunately, this element where we have to say that is who we are,” Watt added. “It’s political in as much as it’s important that people realise there are different people out there. That we all have different backgrounds and belief systems. And the challenge is to live in this world and make sure we’re not idiots to anyone.”