Game Masters – The Forum 

Monday 4 & Tuesday 5 March 2013,  9am–5.30pm
Soundings Theatre
Admission fees apply

This 2-day professional forum focuses on one of the country’s most dynamic and creative industries. Explore challenges and opportunities for local industry, including alternative funding models, marketing and distribution for iOS/Android, transmedia (multi-platform storytelling), brand-building, and design post-mortems from top local studios.

Join New Zealand and international industry leaders for stimulating discussions about games and entertainment, serious games for change and education, and games as an art form. 


Read the keynote, panelist and presenter profiles


View the admission and registration details 


Check out the exclusive industry sessions


Day One


International Keynote – Masaya Matsuura
9am, Soundings Theatre, Level 2

Masaya Matsuura is the acknowledged father of rhythm-based videogame games. As a designer and musician, he is motivated by games’ potential for delivering exciting new experiences. In a session that will be part presentation part performance, he shares his history, his philosophy on games development, and his thoughts on the future.


The New Zealand Story – Game History and Preservation
10.30am, Rangimarie 1, Level 3

New Zealand’s unique early game development grew from draconian import laws that dictated what Kiwis could play in the 70s and early 80s. These restrictions resulted not just in the development of local games but also home-grown arcade machines and consoles. A panel of historians, archivists, and collectors uncover New Zealand’s hidden game history and explain why we need to act now to document and preserve it.

Featuring Dr Melanie Swalwell (Flinders University), Alan Bell (Collector), Shane Farrow (New Zealand Film Archive), Adrian Kingston (Te Papa), and Andrew Stephen (Collector)


It’s Art – But Not as We Know It!
1pm, Rangimarie 1, Level 3

How often does a radically new art form come along? Every 100 years or so? To celebrate the evolution of videogames as art, our panel looks at how the industry has changed our understanding of what art is. 

Featuring Mike Porter (MediaDesignSchool), David Surman (Pachinko Pictures), Grant Tavinor (Lincoln University), Courtney Johnston (The Dowse), and Helen Stuckey (Curator / Researcher)

Beyond Entertainment: Serious Games and Games for Change
3pm, Rangimarie 1, Level 3

Videogames are increasingly being used as a medium for positive social outcomes in health, education, and sustainability. They can support neurological recovery in stroke victims and provide new teaching options in the classroom. Meet our panel of serious games designers and learn how they have harnessed the capacity of games to promote change. Participants include the creators of SPARX, which has been receiving international headlines for its ground-breaking treatment of depression in adolescence.

Featuring Edwin McRae (Game writer), Maru Nihoniho (Metia Interactive), and Theresa Fleming (University of Auckland)



Luke Muscat, Chief Creative Officer for Halfbrick, creators of hit videogame titles Fruit Ninja (2010), and Jetpack Joyride (2012) .  Image courtesy of Halfbrick.

Day Two


International and New Zealand Industry Keynote
9am, Rangimarie 1, Level 3

Mario Wynands, Managing Director Sidhe/Pikpok New Zealand, tag teams with Fruit Ninja designer Luke Muscat of Halfbrick Australia in a double-headed discussion on the shape of the industry. They will reflect on their studios’ work (as featured in the exhibition) and the design challenges they have faced.


Community Engagement and New Funding Models
10.30am, Rangimarie 1, Level 3

As the commercial landscape rapidly evolves, new relationships are developing among gaming communities. Gamers now have opportunities to fund the games they want to play. Kickstarter and crowd sourcing are increasingly common options for indie developers and publishers. Learn about the most recent developments in consumer engagement.

Featuring Camilla Koutsos (PikPok), Anna Geunther (PledgeMe), Mario Wynands (PikPok), David Surman (Pachinko Pictures).

1pm, Rangimarie 1, Level 3

Most significant children’s brands are now built digitally on iOS devices. Hollywood heavyweights such as HBO are exploring the possibilities of threading their storybook worlds through diverse digital media. What are the advantages of dispersing your story across differing channels? What synergies can you create? Can it help you build a bigger audience? What are the economic implications and the development challenges? Hear our panel’s ideas about the frontiers of transmedia.

Featuring Anna Jackson (Transmedia NZ), Helen Baxter (Mohawk Media), Andrew Smith and Theo Baynton (Pukeko Pictures), Greg Harman (Karactaz), and Brenda Leuwenberg (NZonAir).


Into the Futures
3pm, Rangimarie 1, Level 3

What does the future hold for videogames, and what steps do game-makers need to take to get there? Have we seen the end of consoles? Do games need to look beyond games for their inspiration? Where should they look? What impact will the cloud have? As we get older how do we fix the industry so we all get to go home to tuck in the kids for bed?

Featuring David Frampton (Majic Jungle), Andy Satterthwaite (Sidhe/PikPok), Jos Ruffell (FilmNZ), and Ben Kenobi (Independant game designer). Chaired by Stephen Knightley.



If you have enquiries relating to Game Masters: The Forum please contact:

Te Arikirangi Mamaku
Event Producer
Phone : +64 4 381 7239