There are those rare times. You know, the ones. The ones when you know you’ve been lucky enough to be around at the formative stages. Times were you knew that you were witnessing the beginning of something special. You could feel the momentum building. And that’s just what it felt like tonight at OMSI as video game developers from around Oregon gathered.
What was expected to be a gathering of 100 or so turned out to be nearly 300 attendees on hand to participate in the launch of the Oregon Video Game Association, a professional organization dedicated to the video game industry throughout the state of Oregon.
OVGA is a group of game developers, craftspeople, and friends of the industry dedicated to the growth of Oregon’s games industry through advocating for a fertile environment for companies to grow, education programs geared towards a strong and diverse gaming workforce, and strong capital partnerships to fuel Oregon made games.
At the launch, there were veterans from the well established gaming industry in Eugene mingling with indie developers from the Portland gaming scene. Folks who both work within the industry and who are training the next generation of game developers. There were supporters like the Portland Development Commission, the Technology Association of Oregon, Oregon Story Board, Oregon Film, and a whole host of others.
But perhaps best of all, there were games. Tons of games. Locally produced games. And a number of them—larger than life—on the massive OMSI screen.
And to me—as someone who had struggled to build Pac-Man on his TRS-80, who had forever cursed at those ridiculous alligators on Pitfall Harry, and who had spent the better part of his life reveling in the creative pursuits that drive this crowd—it seemed very familiar and special. Like something I had experienced before. Not terribly long ago.
It felt very much like the Portland tech startup scene, nearly a decade ago. And I can’t help but think, that this has similar potential. Perhaps more. But whatever the case, I can’t wait to see where this goes.
For more information, visit the Oregon Video Game Association.
[Full disclosure: I serve on the board of the newly formed OVGA.]