Business Spotlight: Game Assembly hosts developers downtown

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Game Assembly, tucked in a space behind Bridge Street Cafe. Photo/Laura Aronson

MANCHESTER, NH —Look behind the Bridge Cafe on Elm Street, and you’ll see a glassed-in, open office crowded with workstations and computers. This is the home of Game Assembly, a co-working space for game developers.

Skymap Games employees, from left, Ryan Lefebvre, Art Director; Angelos Dardagiannopoulos, Design Director; Jon Vazquez, Technical Director; Neal Laurenza, Managing Director; CJ Schiller, Intern; Matt Migneault, Intern. Photo/Laura Aronson

Neal Laurenza, Managing Director of Skymap Games, which published Bacon Man, and David Carrigg, Instructor of Game Programming and Development at Southern New Hampshire University told me about the gaming business,  developers’ role in it, and how they came to locate in Manchester.

Like the other developers who work at Game Assembly, the Skymap staff live in Manchester and towns in nearby New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Laurenza lives in Methuen, MA, and Carrigg bought a home in Manchester five years ago with his wife. Laurenza said, “Manchester is a great spot for all us because it is centrally located.” Also, housing and office space are more affordable than Massachusetts, he said.

Laurenza and Carrigg agreed on two complaints about Manchester:

  • The lack of commuter rail, both for locals going into Boston on  weekends for entertainment, and for commuters traveling to Manchester for work.
  • The expense of high-speed Internet, which they state in the following video.

Game Assembly hosts a monthly networking meeting of the New Hampshire chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) for industry professionals, hobbyists, and students who share a passion for making games.