Leena van Deventer is a writer, editor, and game developer from Melbourne, Australia. Prior to focussing on game development, Leena mostly wrote about games for various outlets. After realising how much more fun it was to make stuff instead of writing about other people getting the chance to make cool things, her focus changed almost solely to game development itself. Recently, she’s almost blown her “getting to do cool stuff” quota. Leena has been:
- A judge at the Melbourne IGDA chapter’s contingent of the Global Game Jam in 2011, along with Tassos Stevens from the Agency of Coney, (Academy Award winner) Ben Britten of Tin Man Games, Donald Duong of Level3, and Sam Mayo of Firemint.
- An Associate Producer at the Freeplay Independent Games Festival 2011. In charge of a night of the playful program in the days preceding the festival proper, a night of Lemon Jousting. Also a speaker in the festival weekend, on the panel “Growing up in a gaming culture”.
- On a panel on the salon-style feminist discussion night Cherchez La Femme, discussing “Women in games”, hosted by Karen Pickering, along with Ben McKenzie, Clem Bastow, and Moran Paldi.
- A very lucky media delegate at the Game Connect Asia Pacific 2011 conference.
- Working on 3 exciting yet-to-be-announced games!
- Looking forward to a great 2012 full of game developmenty goodness.
Leena has written for sites such as MMGN.com. She’s contributed articles to The Age‘s Screen Play blog, and international sites such as zConnect, Pwnem, Digital Gaudium and Play2Compete, and (having a soft spot for indie development) was the Indie Games Section Editor over at Resolution Magazine before their merge with BeefJack.com.
Leena van Deventer spawned in Melbourne 27 years ago. Her first console was her beloved NES, of which she was only allowed to own one game. Luckily Mario and Duck Hunt came in the one cartridge (HA! TAKE THAT MUM AND DAD!). Subsequently, not wanting it to end, she was too scared to finish Mario and kept dying on purpose right at the last minute. Fortunately, due to ninja stealth and the bossiness only bestowed on only children, she was able to creep over to neighbour children’s homes and Bogart their Sega Master Systems and SNES’s in order to experience the wonders of Alex Kidd, Wonderboy, Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario Bros 2 and 3. After being exposed to Commander Keen and Lemmings at an Aunt’s place, a home computer was vehemently demanded and subsequently delivered. Here a love affair with PC gaming began, with her favourites including Need For Speed (over 4 floppy disks), Catacomb’s Abyss, Doom 2, You Don’t Know Jack, Jedi Knight, and eventually The Sims and Diablo 2. With fears of turning completely PC, a Nintendo 64 was required, and Leena finally got over her fear of completing a Mario game. Many games followed, on many, many platforms.
Childhood was full of games, and subsequently so was adulthood. Gaming went from something for an only child to do when all the kids in the court went home, to an escape from school and petty adolescent plights. No matter what was happening at home, school, or work, games were there with a comforting hug and a pat on the back for getting achievements or that euphoria felt when finally finishing that freaking level that was a thorn in the side for days. Games act as Leena’s escape from the world, her guilty pleasure, her sanity saving device. Some mothers like to relax with a cup of tea and a trash mag, or reading a good book during their precious “me time” while their child is asleep. Leena prefers to grab her iPhone, DS, or PSP, jump on the PS3, or load up Steam and go pew pew for an hour or so. She now owns a Wii, backwards compatible PS3, XBox360 Slim, DS, PSP, Mac, PC, iPad2, an iPhone, and still has her trusty N64. It may come as no surprise, but she married a gamer, who brought his own N64 into the marriage, and the two consoles sit proudly together in eternal union. <3
You can contact Leena via email at Leena@grassisleena.com. Available for freelance. Full CV available upon request. Add me on LinkedIn.