It’s a little surreal being here – sitting at the Freeplay desk, amidst the brainstorm of ideas we’ve had about where we plan to take Australia’s most unique and loved games festival. It was three years ago that I first found myself in the Freeplay audience, watching panels play out before me, solidifying my involvement in Melbourne’s games community.
It was sad to hear that Paul Callaghan was stepping down as director. I’ve joked before that I’ve always seen him as “the Freeplay guy,” and it’s an absolute honour now that Harry Lee and myself have been appointed to take up his position, to pick up the reins and continue where he left off. It’s kind of crazy, and kind of scary – how do we take the cultural pillar that is Freeplay and make it into something even better?
Harry and I throw ideas at each other every day. We won’t be forgetting Freeplay’s roots, beginning back in 2004 with founders Katharine Neil and Marcus Westbury’s desire to discuss the culture of independent game creation outside of the studio world. Paul will still have heavy involvement in the festival, taking up a position on the board. Harry and I are committed to encouraging the growth of new thoughts and practices; Freeplay has always been a place for fresh and vital ideas, and we intend to continue being at the forefront of international discussion. In the coming weeks, we’ll be putting out a call for your feedback. We want to hear from you about what you’ve loved in the previous years, and what you would like to see more of. We want to shake things up – but we also want to continue to strengthen the community, and retain the playfulness that drew us all to Freeplay to begin with.
So with that said, we’re very excited to announce our first project of 2013 under the Freeplay banner. Beginning on the 30th of January, we’ll be hosting Indie Allsorts – the best of local and international gaming at Federation Square.
Each Wednesday evening will see us presenting independent games for visitors to play on the Big Screen. Simultaneously, we’ll be running physical games in the Square, allowing for different and exciting forms of participation and involvement. A mix of Australian and international designers’ games will be available to sample and to savour. Indie Allsorts will run for five weeks from 6 to 9pm on Wednesdays, with the final event concluding on the 27th of February. As the sun sets, join us in running, pole riding, skiing, drawing, jumping, and being a ninja. Indie Allsorts is set to be a sweet way to close out the summer, and we really hope to see you there.