Plugging With The Lucky Country

November 26th, 2008

Australians aren’t particularly patriotic, well at least in comparison to our American or Chinese counterparts. Of course, we love our country, but I don’t think that many of us ever really go out of our way to proclaim our national pride. It’s not so much that we lack a cultural identity nor are we not proud of what that identity is, rather, not caring about trivial matters of patriotism is part of being Aussie. No worries, as we’d say.

Despite our casual nature on the topic, it goes without saying that we care and care deeply about our country. Being overseas, its surprising how conscious you become of your own culture and how you wear that culture on many varying levels. As such I’d like to incorporate a little of this thinking into my blog by promoting a few great Australian video game sources that I feel deserve a particular mention.

Good Game

Considering the ever increasing popularity of video games, it’s a little sad that there are still so few credible television programs covering the subject. Many of the shows I have seen, appear to adopt a “comin’ at ya!” approach to the subject matter, with superfluous amounts of advertising influences splashed around with great generosity. Quite sad indeed.

Good Game in this sense is respectable. The series is nearing the end of its fourth season and has been a great success story of video games coverage on TV done good and proper. While the show does have a light hearted feel to it, it does so in a positive nature that creates the right mood for the large variance of game players; both young and old.

good game

News and features are all done with an increasingly high investigative standard, with the content explained in a clear, logical manner. The way reviews are conducted is also interesting in that it often bounces back and forth between the opinions of the two presenters, adding a little bit more scope in the process.

Recently the program helped two aspiring Australian game developers land a job in the industry. The two candidates began as interns working with Infinite Interactive (the Puzzle Quest guys) to develop a new title for the company with a short time frame. Members from the Good Game community could also contribute ideas and content that were used to shape the game, with their own positions filed in the credits. That includes the games core premise, name, music and so forth. Such a project represents the high level of professionalism the show is continually striving for among all areas.

Screen Play

I should feel deeply ashamed that I’ve only been reading this blog for maybe a month now, particularly considering that it’s been around for the past couple of years. Run by Jason Hill of The Age, Screen Play looks at various happenings within the industry, particularly with an emphasis on those relevant in Australia. Many key topics, like Australian gaming events and the classifications are covered on a continual basis with fantastic consistency.

screen play blog

Perhaps the most praise-worthy segment of the blog is Your Turn, which provides anyone with the ability to write an entertaining article to submit content on the site. Many of the contributors range from a variety of ages and occupations and it is definitely a great way to nurture real critical thinking among the audience as well as increasing the general populace. At the end of each month, the writer of the best article is rewarded with a prize donated by publishers (such as a Playstation 3 console, in past months).

The community is perhaps the most significant part of the blog and it is handled with great respect. The overall approach to finding newsworthy content is similar to the MTV Multiplayer blog in that, what is posted is news and not recycled press straight from the inbox.

Zero Punctuation

There probably isn’t too much that I can say about this segment that you probably don’t know already. The producer of Zero Punctuation is infact English-born, Australian games journalist Ben Croshaw. Although much of the program is made with the intent of humour, I feel that Croshaw many times is able to very clearly showcase a strong understanding of how game design operates well and how so. So beyond the laughs there is some merit to be observed. In recent weeks I have noticed the numerous references put in for the Australian audience, which deserves to be mentioned.