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A Place to Play and Innovate

July 24, 2013 by David Sydiongco

Like this summer’s temperatures, Phoenix’s video game scene is on the rise. More and more, gamers are seeing locally developed titles, such as Erin Robinson’s “Gravity Ghost” and Steve Swink’s “Scale is a Game,” make bigger splashes in the industry.

Photo by Sam MortThis growth is largely thanks to the work of Downtown organizations like Game CoLab, a collaborative workplace specialized for the needs of video game developers. Founded by Phoenician entrepreneurs Joseph Darnell and Ben Reichert, the lab provides a venue for local developers to create, test, showcase and launch new, creative game concepts.

Darnell and Reichert founded Game CoLab after meeting in an entrepreneurship course hosted by the West Mesa Community Development Corporation. Eager to begin their own startup, the duo found their niche in videogames. After meeting with various indie developers, they realized Phoenix’s gaming scene would benefit greatly from a centralized place for developers and players alike.

“There’s a pretty robust community here, but it’s kind of scattered,” said Darnell.

With that need in mind, it’s easy to see why Darnell and Reichert chose to house Game CoLab in the Levine Machine Building, located at 605 E. Grant Street. “We love living in Machine,” said Darnell, describing the structure as “creative” and “funky.”

The duo hopes to eventually provide incubation and acceleration through the lab. This would include funding, education on marketing and publishing, and networking with mentors and major industry figures for Phoenix developers.

Ultimately, the end goal of the Game CoLab is rather simple. They are hoping to foster the growth and development of Phoenix’s video game community. “There are really good, quality games being made here,” said Darnell. “And there’s a lot more than people think.”

Looking to join the fun and innovation at the Game CoLab? Then check out their recurring lecture and workshop series, Osmosis. The next event will be held on August 1 at 6 p.m.

*Photo by: Sam Mort www.sammortproductions.com


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