From the Freeplay Board – Rob Pulham

Welcome to this series of blog posts by the board members of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival. Today, we’ve asked board member Rob Pulham to recount what put him on the path to being on the board of Australia’s biggest and longest-running independent games festival.

I don’t remember how young I was when I first started playing computer games. It was on a Commodore 64. Imagination was part of the experience and many games were, of necessity, simple – restricted in graphics, size, memory and sound. Yet many were also surprisingly deep. I spent many hours playing scrolling 2D platformers, text-based adventure games, sporting sims, campaign strategy games, flying, driving, racing and even sailing sims, and all kinds of categories in between.

As computers grew up, so did I. I moved to adventure games that actually used graphics (the Monkey Island series remains one of my all time favourites), more and more sophisticated real time strategy games (I have to admit to being an original Warcraft fan at this point), and games with ever increasing levels of “realism”. I even adopted consoles – somewhat belatedly, but with a passion that saw me happily pouring money into the coffers of every console maker at once.

I play games less these days than I used to, but my work in the field of technology law ensures I keep up to date with the latest trends in technology and computer, console or smart-device gaming.

With smartphones and portable devices of all descriptions, games of all types have been able to clearly hit the mainstream. This still presents many unexplored opportunities and we’re still working on different ways of interacting with these devices – giving game developers new tools and delivering them new audiences.

Games, to me, have traditionally been a form of entertainment and escape. But playing games, growing up with two siblings, also taught me how to share, cooperate, communicate, and think laterally. Games are not just “mindless fun”, they’re an important part of our culture.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Freeplay several years ago by a work colleague, and have been on the Board since the Board’s inception. I’m proud to be involved and to help Freeplay foster and expand the gaming community.

Everyone has a different gaming story, and all our ideas together help those stories grow. So it’s with great excitement and anticipation that I look forward to our upcoming Festival under the new directorship of Katie and Harry and hope to see you there!