“This is a computer game. We made it. Our office is just along there, at the end of the street.”

I’ve written before about being part of the community in South Dunedin, why we chose it and why we love it. In the weekend we had our second time round being part of the South Dunedin Street Festival, and once again we had a great time!

Tom and Sarah demonstrating Before We Leave to a pair of South Dunedin street festival visitors
Sam, Sarah, Tom, and some grandparents. Note new (sparkly) office friend, lower right.

This time, it wasn’t just Sam and me–Sarah and Tom joined us, plus we got to show off the demo of the amazing WIP by Atawhai Interactive: Tōroa! (Seriously, go follow the link and wishlist it, it’s so cool.)

This guy loved Tōroa and kept playing until his partner phoned to see where the heck he was.

I love talking to people of all ages and all levels of engagement with games: from the pair of boys who basically took over the Switch for as long as we’d let them, to the wee lass who sat there for at least ten minutes while I sat next to her and said “press Y. Now press A. Press A again. Now press Y” the entire time, to the grandparents who thought our game looked a bit like something they’d seen their grandchildren playing but couldn’t remember the name of, to the bearded gentleman who had heard of us and in fact worked with someone we also work with and was happy to finally meet us in person.

I mean, who DOESN'T want to be a soaring albatross, catching the winds above the ocean??

It was a fun contrast to presenting at PAX Aus last year. Our spiel to those gamers always started with “well, it’s a little city builder, mostly non violent… [wait for laugh] …except that giant space whales come and take bites out of your planet”. Here, we were more likely to start with “This is a computer game. We made it. Our office is just along there, at the end of the street.”

There was a ton of cool other stuff on display as well. We were between Volunteer South and the Red Cross this year. At lunchtime we were spoiled for choice between Filipino, Chinese, Turkish, Dutch and Indian street food, but we went with our staples of halloumi loaded fries and churros. Plus there were stalls where you could paint miniatures and learn Warhammer 40k or Age of Sigmar, a blacksmith smithing things, apiarists selling candles and honey and who can rent you beehives for your backyard, locally-made clothes and jewellery and art and lollies and toys, and of course, free face painting!

Oh, and we need a name for our new office mascot. Any suggestions? Pop on over to our Discord and join the conversation.