As much as we like doing talks and contributing to the community both nationally and internationally, there is something especially gratifying about engaging in community and industry discussions on our home turf of Winnipeg.

As May comes to a close we’d like to share some brief thoughts and images from a month that was quite decidedly focused here in Winnipeg.

From a talk for the Winnipeg Rotary Club Career Symposium focused on helping high school students learn what it takes to work in the local gaming and entertainment industry, to the opening panel at this year’s SpurFest discussing women in gaming, to a feature talk for New Media Manitoba about the behind the scenes story of making our first game and how other developers can learn from our mistakes, May has been a busy month — and that’s not even counting the launch of a major update to Clandestine: Anomaly.

Below are some post-event details showcased in chronological order.

Winnipeg Rotary Club Career Symposiumrotary_international

The Career Symposium was a 3-day event held on March 14th-15th at the Winnipeg Convention Center. Catering to high school students from across Manitoba, the Career Symposium is designed order to help them explore career possibilities within the province.

With more than 185 Exhibiter booths and 30 speaker sessions the event featuring both business and educational leaders the province-wide event is the largest and most comprehensive event of its kind in Canada. The event is, of course, hosted by the Winnipeg Rotary Club.

Our co-founder Corey King was fortunate enough to be the opening talk of the technology track for both days of the Symposium. In his talk titled “Working in Manitoba as a Creative Professional: Gaming and Other Entertainment”, Corey gave a detailed look at what it takes to make it in the video game and entertainment industry here in Manitoba.

Diving into the subject from the primary perspective of a “creative entrepreneur”, Corey gave a glimpse of what he does on a daily basis, how he got to where is, and what students need to do to follow a similar path.

The Young Minds Interested in Making Video Games

With an packed audience in the Convention Center’s largest theatre, Corey spoke to over 500 high school students about the somber realism it takes to follow your passions and a deep optimism, so long as you truly love what you do, you can find a way to survive and thrive in your dream job.



SpurFest Moderator

Poetry at SpurSpurFest was not only an event we sponsored along with New Media Manitoba, but it was also the first event where Danielle, ZenFri’s other founder, spoke publicly at an industry event, taking on the role of panel moderator. An important milestone in an of itself, this panel was titled “Hive Mind or Internet Mob”.
Starting the night off with an amazing and perfectly suited spoken word poem by Winnipeg’s own Chimwemwe Undi (pictured right) te panel itself featured game developer Brianna Wu and York University Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr. Emily Flynn-Jones primarily focused on women in gaming, both from the perspective of gamers, educators and industry developers.

We provided key details for this talk in a blog announce the event.

The discussion was filled with personal stories of playing games or working in the industry as a woman, and contained insights on topics ranging from internet anonymity, developing for a female audience and how the struggles of women in the gaming industry is paralleled in other creative and entrepreneurial communities.

SpurFest Woman in Gaming Panel


Featured New Media Manitoba Talk

Finally, last week Corey took on his first solo event, deliveringIMG_7792
a jam-packed, high-energy and very candid 1 hr 30 minute behind-the-scenes talk about the creation of our first video game, Clandestine: Anomaly, the hard lessons and struggles of getting the game to market and tips for how you can do it better.

Titled “Perseverance Is Key: The Struggles and Splendour of Creating My First Video Game, And How You Can Do It Better!” the talk was as much about ZenFri’s journey from low budget short films, and media art productions to creation of an innovative award-winning game, as it was about the importance of passion to when adversity threatens your project.

From the early days of the first volunteer team, to acquiring a budget of 1.5 million and recruiting AAA talent, this talk delivered the details needed to not only match ZenFri’s success, but surpass it through avoiding our mistakes. Perhaps most importantly, it’s about how to do it all from Winnipeg and the importance and depth of the community.

Here are some key slides:


That last slide is key, and we believe applies to pretty much anything you want to achieve.

Despite the great weather the night of the talk, a lot of folks showed up and most importantly were highly engaged, asking questions as directly and frankly as the talk itself. We wouldn’t have it any other way. The whole point of talks like this is to empower others and to help them understand the gory details (not normally discussed publicly or tweeted online) because doing so makes the community stronger.

All-in-all, the three talks were about helping to move the local community forward. If anything we said helps that happen, it was worth the effort.