Rookie Day

This is part of a 1951 Women's Weekly I cut up for my Rookie Day "vision board." My vision is pretty incoherent, but the two more distinct things it contained were pies and cats.

A lot has been happening! Not that anyone reading this blog would know about it, given my abysmal maintenance of it. Yesterday I was at the Melbourne Writers Festival, taking part in Rookie Day – a space for ladies under 20 to love, learn from, and dance with one another. Festival director Lisa Dempster had asked me to be part of the speaker line-up, which is kind of crazy because when you’re speaking alongside someone like Tavi Gevinson you feel even more like “what could anyone even learn from a nobody like me?!” than you might usually.

I think, if there was something to be taken away from my talk, it was that I still have no idea what I’m doing. Two, maybe nearly three years of this video game thing still hasn’t taught me what to say to girls younger than I who might be looking to getting into the same space. And maybe that’s part of it. Three years ago, I never thought I’d be writing about video games for my living. I never thought that some of my closest friends today would be game developers, writers and artists whose work I once idolised from afar. Like I said in the Rookie Day Q&A, you’re never told what sort of person you could become when you’re in high school and still trying to figure out what you want to do with your life. You’re only told to get full As if you don’t want to become a garbageman and a disappointment to everybody in your life ever.

Nobody ever said to me, hey, video games are totally a thing you can do! I’m still not sure what made me go for it, or what motivated me through the early times, when I had a much thinner support network. But I tried and somehow I did it, and now I write for publications I used to devour as a teenaged gamer. I wish somebody had told me, back then, that I had a chance to be in those magazines too. Maybe that’s why I’m super-passionate now about things like Rookie magazine – because yesterday, I was looking at a hundred gorgeous girls wearing flower headbands and Campbell’s Soup dresses and they were asking questions like “How do I survive the final year of high school?” and I didn’t have any answers, even though I was on stage like some kind of got-it-sorted authority figure. I guess, looking at them, I knew they already had the smarts, the creativity, the intense beauty to be on that podium too.

I’d love for more of today’s teenaged girls to get into games development or games criticism or even just gaming itself. Rookie Day’s host, Anna Barnes, later told me how much she’d love to see a future game infused with Rookie’s dreamy, rose-adorned aesthetic, and you know what? I absolutely want to play that game, too.

Anyway.

The frequency with which I’ve been updated this blog is pretty laughable, and after having Alive Tiny World mentioned in my Rookie Day introduction and my MWF bio, I began to seriously wonder why I still mention it in the list of Stuff That I Do. Honestly, I find the unblinking white expanse of my theme a little unwelcoming, and I’ve had a makeover planned for months, but that’s not going to happen until October at least – because next month is Freeplay! We’ve got ourselves an amazing new website to celebrate this year’s theme, Volume of Revolution, and we’ll be announcing the program and putting tickets on sale soon. If you’re in Melbourne, please come by and see what’s been eating up so much of my time lately – oh, and get a chance to hear from and play the games of some of the world’s most interesting games developers, too.

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