Local game goodness at first ever Perth International Games Week
Every year, Perth’s gamers and game makers flock to Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW) to get their fill of the latest and greatest games and interactive offerings.
But, thanks to the first ever Perth International Games Week (PIGW) happening this month, we might start getting Melbourne folk visiting us!
A culmination of many years of work by many fine individuals and organisations, PIGW is yet another reminder of the incredible talent we have here in Western Australia. As Sofie Mather, who is involved in organising almost every event during PIGW, put it, “Perth is a big tasty soup of talent, and we have a local industry that’s worthy of celebration.”
PIGW kicked off on 9 November with Playup Perth #15 and concludes with the Perth Games Festival on 25 November. (For you detail-oriented folks, you may have noticed that PIGW is actually a month … hey, we do things differently on the west coast.)
While it’s the first ‘official’ year of PIGW, many of the events under its umbrella have been running for quite some time. The longest running is the centrepiece of PIGW, the Perth Games Festival, which has been running since 2013—making 2018 its 5th birthday!
As Festival Director Jon Hayward tells me, the festival is a great entry point into creating your own game.
“The Perth Games Festival connects game developers with the people of Western Australia,” he says. “It helps get new people into the game development scene and shows why games can be and are created here.”
It’s not surprising then that there are many early-career developers showing of their work this year, giving us a glimpse into the future of Perth’s games industry.
Housed at the Perth Town Hall and free to the public, the Perth Games Festival expects to attract more than 2000 attendees this year.
The ones to watch
Some titles to look out for at this year’s festival include Hien Pham and Amos Wolfe’s It Will Be Hard, an Australian Game Developer Award-winning interactive graphic novel. The story (which Hien describes as “gentle smut” and as such is 18+) centres around a relationship between two men, Arthur and Harold, and their journey to make their relationship work.
As the work’s site describes, “With queer people of colour at its center, the gentle, optimistic, and optionally erotic story touches upon grey asexuality, polyamory, and the importance of communication between partners.” Hien, who created the story and the comic’s beautiful art, shares with me:
“It’s a small love letter to what I don’t see enough of in games and comics: gentle and emotionally vulnerable physical intimacy between diverse bodies.”
Another game to watch out for is Project Wingman, a flight simulator with an inspiring back story for aspiring game creators. Abi Rahmani, the solo developer behind the game, tells me the game started out as a way of learning more about Unreal Engine (one of the main tools used to make video games), and he’s been really happy about how his project has taken off. Last year, he received an Unreal Developer Grant as well as concluding a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year.
If you missed TeleBlast at the recent Playup Perth, it will also be on offer at the festival. Described by the developers as “a local multiplayer sports game of the future where you blow up your friends with teleports”, TeleBlast has been doing really well interstate. After emerging from this year’s Global Game Jam, TeleBlast went on to be selected for the PAX Australia Indie Showcase 2018.
Extended Play Unconference
Another long-running event that is part of this year’s PIGW is the Extended Play Unconference. First launched in 2015, this year’s unconference will run on 25 November and will be “a casual afternoon of informal talks, discussions and probably a BBQ”. Being an unconference means not only can anyone attend, but anyone can show up to speak or run a workshop.
As Sofie tells me, “Extended Play offers a relaxed space where an assortment of voices can be heard discussing whatever they want respectfully. True to its roots, Extended Play has remained community focused, encouraging a healthy equilibrium alongside our community’s commercial aspirations.”
“This baby is all goodness,” Sofie adds.
Get your game on
If you want to get in on all this gaming action, you can check out the full list of PIGW events here.
With all these creative, innovative and boundary-pushing events happening in Perth, who needs to go to Melbourne?