Keynote, presenter, and panelist profiles
President, NanaOn-Sha (Japan)
Masaya Matsuura is recognised as a true gaming pioneer. In collaboration with Rodney Greenblat, he kicked off the modern genre of rhythm-based music games with PaRappa the Rapper (1996). Matsuura’s company NanaOn-Sha followed this success with UmJammer Lammy (1999) and the generative music game vib-ribbon (1999). His work in gaming grew organically from his lifelong engagement with writing and performing music. He began his career in the electronic pop band Psy-S, which released many albums and whose songs have appeared on anime soundtracks. In the early 1990s, Matsuura’s interest in computer-based music led him to develop various multimedia projects that eventually morphed into the development of interactive games. Matsuura also composed the sounds and music for Sony’s robot pet dog AIBO ERS-7. NanaOn-Sha’s most recent mobile game, WINtA (2010) – the proceeds from which go to charity – continues to leverage interactive technology to create fun and imaginative ways for non-musicians to immerse themselves in music.
Chief Creative Officer - Halfbrick (Australia)
Luke is Chief Creative Officer at Halfbrick, and the creator the smash-hit iPhone games Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride, and Monster Dash. As part Halfbrick’s ‘indie’ development style, he runs a small internal team of just six. The team is focused on creating fantastic, original, intellectual property, and fun casual games that are full of personality and soul.
Over the past 2 years, Halfbrick games under Luke’s direction have been downloaded over 300 million times.
Luke was brought to Te Papa to feature in The Forum through the Australian High Commissions Public Diplomacy Grant.
Director - Sidhe/PikPok (New Zealand)
Mario Wynands is the managing director and co-founder of PikPok, New Zealand's most prolific videogame digital publisher across smartphone, tablet, and desktop. In his 15 years at the company, he has run studio operations, managed numerous games and overseen the creation of many successful console titles including Shatter, GripShift, and Speed Racer, as well as multiple hits in the smartphone and tablet space including Flick Kick Football, Slam Dunk King and Monsters Ate My Condo. He is an advocate of New Zealand industry, assisting and mentoring other developers where possible. Wynands is a graduate of Victoria University in Wellington with degrees in business management and computer science, and has studied at MIT Sloan.
Presenters and panel members
Listed in alphabetical order, by surname
Managing Director, Mohawk Media
Helen Baxter sits on the advisory board of Creative Commons Aotearoa, and is a regular judge in the Yahoo!NZ Digital Strategy Awards. She writes about tools for creative entrepreneurs in the MsBehaviour Files at the Big Idea, and is a mentor for XMediaLab, and Wellington Startup Weekend.
Helen was founding editor of KnowledgeBoard.com, an award-winning community for knowledge and innovation run by the European Commission. She has taught professional practice, online tools and emerging technologies in the UK, NZ, Australia, and is available to book as an international keynote speaker.
Writer/ Director, Pukeko Pictures
Theo Baynton has had a diverse career as a Writer, Storyboard Artist, Designer, Animator, Art Director and Director on films and animated television series. Theo joined Weta Workshop as the Production Designer for Jane and the Dragon, before moving on to direct 76 episodes of Pukeko Picture’s television series, The WotWots. As Head of Creative Development – Children’s Entertainment, Theo is working to bring Pukeko Picture’s new line of children’s properties to the screen.
Video Collection Developer, NZ Film Archive
Shane Farrow is the Video Collection Developer at the New Zealand Film Archive in Wellington, where he heads up the most recent acquisition category, the Computer Game/Video Game Collection.
The NZFA is a partner organisation on the Play It Again project: a game history/preservation project focused on Australian and New Zealand digital games of the 1980s.
Prior to his work at the Film Archive, Shane worked in the local film industry as a production manager and also in the field of production sound, chiefly as a boom operator.
Theresa (Terry) Fleming
Lecturer, University of Auckland
Terry is the chair of the Adolescent Health Research Group and is the acting Principal investigator for the Youth’12 survey while Terryann Clark is on maternity leave. Terry is a youth health lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health and is a research fellow (youth mental health) in the Department of Psychological Medicine. Terry completed her Diploma in Social Work, BA (psych) and MHSci at Auckland, she recently submitted her PhD. Terry has worked in the development and delivery of innovative youth health and youth mental health services, mainly in Counties Manukau. Her main research interests relate to youth health, youth mental health and increasing the responsiveness of health services to better meet the needs of young people.
Chief Bubble Blower, PledgeMe
Anna, Pledgeme’s business mind, sounds American. She swears she’s not though. If pushed, she’ll say she’s technically from Dunedin, but will later admit she grew up in Boston. Having roamed around the world recently, she’s back to call Wellington home. And, she's just completed her Masters in Entrepreneurship through Otago - with a focus on crowdfunding.
Karactaz, Executive Producer
Greg manages contracts, proposals, budgets, schedules, finance, technology and the successful delivery of all of Karactaz productions.
Co-director, Transmedia NZ
Anna is the co-director of Transmedia NZ, an organisation that seeks to promote the development of transmedia production in New Zealand. She has a particular interest in new forms of documentary and is currently undertaking a joint PhD at the University of Auckland and The University of Melbourne, researching innovation and change in New Zealand's documentary production ecology.
Director, The DowseArt Museum
In 2012 Courtney Johnston took up the position of Director of the DowseArtGallery and the PetoneSettlersMuseum. In this role, she wants to help people have meaningful, moving, life-expanding experiences with art and our heritage - the same experiences museums and galleries have given her.
She also blogs about art, museums and audience engagement at http://best-of-3.blogspot.com, and has a regular spot on National Radio's Nine to Noon talking about art in New Zealand (and elsewhere).
Ben Tuhoe Kenobi
Independent Game Designer
Formally trained in game design theory and architecture and experienced in game-play design and production workflow techniques, Ben Tuhoe Kenobi is an enthusiastic and critical analyst of games who seeks to build upon current media conventions to join the "wave" of new media artists and thinkers transform the art-form and "give it wings".
Graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture from Auckland School of Architecture (2000) Ben took his knowledge of spatial considerations, and enthusiasm for the language of gaming to AUT to complete a Masters degree in the area of game environment design and narrative implementation (2010) while lecturing and tutoring on digital media and game design papers spanning 5 degrees at Auckland University, AUT University and Unitec (2001 - 2010).
Ben worked as a designer at Gameloft's Auckland studio on several titles during the company's transition in to free-to-play micro-transaction monetization models (2011-2012) where he held the title of Lead-Designer on one of the company's Hasbro franchise games, Littlest Pet Shop (2012).
Ben now shifts his focus to transforming the medium and exploring alternate creative pathways such as games for social change and serious games.
Collections Information Manager, Digital Assets and Development, Te Papa
Adrian is Collections Information Manager, Digital Assets and Development at Te Papa. Part of his role includes trying to figure out what to do with non-physical collection objects. Description, storage, migration, access and future representation of collection items that need more than an acid free box and climate controlled storage.
Chair, NZ Game Developers Association - Chair, Game Masters Industry Advisory Panel
Stephen is an experienced game designer, marketer, and business consultant at video games consultancy InGame. Stephen is chairperson of the New Zealand Game Developers Association and a board member of Creative Digital Content Auckland. He runs the monthly Auckland Game Developers Meetup and regularly speaks on gaming, education, and new media topics.
Stephen has a strong track record in using technology for successful marketing campaigns and training initiatives. His background also includes working with innovative start up companies. His clients have included XBox, MTV Games, Microsoft Europe, HP, Unilever, Fonterra, IBM, and many high-growth technology exporters. Stephen is the former Director of Marketing for the University of Waikato.
Camilla 'Milla' Koutsos
Community Manager, Sidhe Interactive/PikPok Games
Panel Member, Game Masters Industry Advisory Panel
Milla’s early interest in computers, gadgets, games, and other un-girly things has not abated since it began in 1981. She has been a hardcore gamer for fifteen years, managing forums for id software, John Romero, and gaming communities. During the early part of this century, Milla was a freelance games artist. Her career, social life, and home life all revolve around games. She adds tremendous value to the panel by offering an insight as a gamer, as well as a gaming professional, who also has a high-powered industry network. As a CR/SN rep, she has her finger on the pulse of gamers themselves.
Game Writer, Fiction Engineer
Edwin McRaeis a fiction engineer who develops storylines and other narrative assets for video games. He is currently Lead Writer for Path of Exile (Grinding Gears Games), and has developed story for Big Little Bang (Podscape), Cash Stash and Music Manager (InGame), Hamnasya (Blue Flame Publishing), and 2nd City (2nd City Studios).
Edwin graduated with an M.A. in Creative Writing (Script) from VictoriaUniversity (Wellington) in 2006 and worked for four years as a storyliner and scriptwriter for the TV serial drama, Shortland Street. Edwin now writes exclusively for Video Games. He is editor and founder of The Fiction Engine, and teaches fiction engineering at Nelson/Marlborough Institute of Technology and the NZ Writers College.
Managing Director, Metia Interactive
After ten years management in the hospitality industry, a passion for creative design led Maru to establish her own interactive game development company Metia Interactive in 2003.
Maru is the producer and designer and leads a team of developers that include artists and programmers. As well as designing and developing her own games, Maru also produces 3rd party games both commercial and non-commercial titles across multiple platforms including PlayStation, Apple iOS, PC and Mac.
Maru’s most recent success was winning a United Nations World Summit Award 2011 for a serious game project named ‘Sparx’, a University of Auckland initiative, to help teenagers deal with depression. Sparx was also reviewed and published in the British Medical Journal.
Programme Leader, Game Art, MediaDesignSchool
Mike started his game career back in 1995 in Lewisville, Texas. Over the last 15 years, he has worked in several different companies both in Texas and in Seattle, including work for Sierra and Microsoft Games Studios. He has created 3D artwork, level design on various games, for various platforms including Dreamcast, PS2, PC and Xbox 360. His roles included Art Lead, Environment Art Lead,
Vehicle Art Lead and Level Design Lead. Mike was even lucky enough to work with the great people at Bungie for a short period to help ship Halo 3.
Jos has spent over 10 years working in the games industry, across original and licensed titles for console, smartphone and PC platforms. Highlights include establishing PikPok, which is Sidhe’s publishing label for iPhone and Android games. During this time, Jos oversaw the development and release of multiple US & UK #1 App Store hits like Flick Kick Football and Bird Strike as well as negotiating licensing and development deals with Chelsea FC, Adidas, Cartoon Network and DreamWorks Animation.
He has chaired the NZ GAV Trust for four years, successfully overseeing AnimfxNZ, New Zealand’s premier Games, Animation and Visual Effects conference in Wellington.
Jos has sat on the Board of Film New Zealand for three years, helping the organisation understand and better position New Zealand to grow its digital entertainment industries.
Jos has extensive knowledge, contacts and experience in the international games industry and has spoken at leading industry conferences such as GDC China, GDC Europe, DELF Hong Kong and FMX in Germany.
In mid 2011, he established a new craft brewery in Wellington called Garage Project with the goal of being recognised as one of the top breweries in the world. Currently Jos divides his time between helping create trophy winning beers, consulting with a group of select companies and walking his two dogs, Monte and Mila.
Executive Producer, Sidhe/PikPok
Andy has been in the games industry since 1993 and has been a core part of the development on many ground breaking titles including Wipeout 2097, Colony Wars, Quantum Redshift and GripShift. He joined Sidhe in 2003.
Chief Executive, Pukeko Pictures
Andrew is the Chief Executive of Pukeko Pictures and is a producer of their successful pre-schooler property the WotWots. Andrew was the supervising producer for Weta Workshop’s hit series Jane and the Dragon, which is now controlled by Pukeko. Previously Andrew was the Commercial Manager for Weta Workshop Ltd, and its affiliated merchandising company Weta Ltd. Joining Weta in 1998, Andrew has been the accountant for all of Weta Workshop's major projects including The Lord of the Rings, Master and Commander, Last Samurai, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and King Kong. He is a chartered accountant and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in New Zealand.
Andrew saw his first computer in an electronics store in Dunedin at age 11, and had taught himself to program it a couple of weeks later.
This early fascination with computers has evolved and grown over the past three decades. In the late 90s foolish sentiment drove Andrew to try to reclaim his youth by buying a Sinclair ZX81 – his first computer and the same model he saw in that electronics store in 1982.
Today Andrew maintains a collection of over 180 home computers and game consoles, along with associated software and literature.
Andrew’s passion is not only for collecting these old machines, but raising the profile of this era as legitimate and essential modern history. To further this goal he has spoken at events including the NZ National Science Fiction convention and Wellington Nerd Nite, and is working with the New Zealand Film Archive as a contributer to the Play It Again project. He dreams of one day establishing a permanent public museum of computing history in New Zealand.
Curator / Researcher
Panel member, Game Masters Industry Advisory Panel
Helen Stuckey is a curator and researcher. Her recent curatorial practice has focused on the exhibition of videogames as cultural artefacts. At the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) she initiated, produced, and curated Games Lab (2005 – 2008), a dedicated exhibition space for exploring game culture.
She is currently undertaking PhD research as part of the ARC Linkage project Play It Again: Creating a Playable History of Australasian Digital Games, for Industry, Community and Research Purposes. In this role, she is addressing the need for institutional collecting and conservation solutions to document and preserve the history of early games and gaming cultures in Australia.
Co-founder, Pachinko Pictures
David is an artist, designer and co-founder of Pachinko Pictures, now based in MelbourneAustralia after migrating from the UK. Over the past 10 years he has worked in many different creative environments. As an animator, David worked in the theatre, producing projected works that interacted with the stage and performers. As a concept and story artist, he has assisted in the development of commercials, animation and games -- creating characters, stories and action for a wide range of clients, including Chupa Chups, Microsoft Game Studios, Michelin and the Nike Company. As a freelance creative he has worked with a number of agencies and production companies, including Kill Screen, W + K Portland, Psyop, Blacklist, Taboo, Stuart Alexander and most recently Renegade Films.
Over the past year David has been working as a curatorial consultant for a new major exhibition of videogames, GAME MASTERS, at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image. As part of the development of this show, he travelled internationally filming video interviews with the world’s leading game developers, including Paulina Bozek, Peter Molyneux and Alex Rigopulos. As a researcher and academic, David developed a pioneering degree programme in games design 8 years ago at Newport School of Art, which focused on the principles and processes of art and design for games. Many of his graduate students now enjoy considerable professional success at acclaimed studios including Rare, EA, SEGA, Funcom, Frontier, Blitz and Rockstar games. At the Swinburne School of Design, David developed innovative new courses in Digital Media, Animation and Character Design. David holds a Masters in Film and Television from WarwickUniversity and a Bachelors in Animation from the Newport School of Art, Media and Design.
Dr Melanie Swalwell
Associate Professor, Department of Screen and Media, FlindersUniversity
Associate Professor of Screen & Media, Flinders University Melanie is a scholar of digital media arts, histories and cultures. She has researched the histories of digital games in 1980s New Zealand, and published this work in a range of forms, including an online photographic exhibition of historic photographs, “More than a Craze: Photographs of New Zealand's early digital games” http://www.maharagallery.org.nz/MoreThanACraze, co-curated with Janet Bayly. Swalwell assembled and led the multidisciplinary game preservation team NZTronix (2005-08), which laid the groundwork for the current AU-NZ collaborative project, “Play It Again” (2012-14), which has received funding under the ARC’s Linkage Projects scheme. Play It Again is game history and preservation collaboration involving ACMI, the New Zealand Film Archive, the Berlin Computerspiele Museum, VUW, and researchers at Flinders and Melbourne universities. Melanie is passionate about digital cultural heritage, and has also initiated the "Australasian Heritage Software Database" (www.ourdigitalheritage.org) a project to document locally written software in the region.
Games Researcher, and Lecturer, LincolnUniversity
Dr Grant Tavinor has combined his professional capacity as a philosopher of the arts and his personal interest in gaming to become a leading researcher in the theory of video games. Grant has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Auckland and is a specialist in philosophical aesthetics. He has presented his work on games at international conferences and has published articles on games in a number of academic journals. His book The Art of Videogames appeared with Wiley-Blackwell in 2009 and is the first major study of video games by a philosopher of the arts. He has chapters on gaming appearing in the forthcoming editions of the Routledge Companion to Aesthetics, Routledge Companion to Games Studies, and the Oxford Encyclopaedia of Aesthetics, and is currently working on a new book on the ethics of gaming violence. Grant is lecturer in philosophy at LincolnUniversity where he teaches introductory philosophy and the philosophy of science.