City’s flourishing indie games scene in spotlight

Otago Museum staff member Gareth West is pictured with Runaway Play’s game Flutter: Starlight,...
Otago Museum staff member Gareth West is pictured with Runaway Play’s game Flutter: Starlight, part of the "Otepoti Indies" video game exhibition. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Tuhura Otago Museum is opening the second video game exhibition in less than a month, and this time it is all about Dunedin.

"Otepoti Indies" which opened on Saturday, features 12 gaming studios and creators in large-scale projections.

Along with snippets from gameplay, there are profiles and playable games in the space.

The exhibition was created in partnership with the New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence (Code) and highlights the booming video game industry in Dunedin.

With about 10 times more studios per capita in Dunedin than Auckland, the sector has doubled in the city over the past two years.

"There are some great games being made right here, something that you can really see when you come to the ‘Otepoti Indies’ exhibition," Tuhura Otago Museum marketing manager Kate Oktay said.

"The impact of Code is really evident here too. It is fantastic to see how much the sector has grown thanks to the organisation.

"What I really like about living in Dunedin is how we all support each other. Tuhura Otago Museum, the polytech, the university and others are all coming together to increase and support this industry, somewhere that our youth can work, and that brings life and creativity to the city," she said.

The exhibition features many types of games — from virtual pinball with native birds to Runaway Play’s internationally popular nature-based games, to city building in imaginary worlds, to high drama role-playing — and the museum aims to have something for every age and interest in the exhibition.

"We are loving the exhibitions that we have on at the moment," Ms Oktay said.

"Between ‘Otepoti Indies’ and our major exhibition ‘Code Breakers: Women in Games’, there are so many video games for visitors to play, it is like a free arcade."

This latest exhibition shows you do not have to look overseas to find world-class indie game developers: they are living right here in Dunedin.

The exhibition continues until September 15.