The 2023 Freeplay Awards
The 2023 Freeplay Awards for excellence in indie games (digital and non-digital) in Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania are now open.
For submission, creators must be able to provide a copy of the game (via a private URL, access through the App Store, Play Store, Steam, Itch.io, Humble or the like, or physically get it to us within the submission period).
Interactive experiences (escape rooms, live art, immersive art, etc) are also very welcome to apply! Just provide some documentation of your work (e.g. video/photos) for our judges to evaluate, or let us know how we may be able to experience it in person.
Submissions will close 11:59pm (AEDT) on Wednesday 25th October, 2023. Any games being submitted by post (see submission form for address) must be post-marked by 25th October, and received by Freeplay within two working days of the deadline.
Finalists will be announced in January-February 2024. The Awards Ceremony will take place in person in February 2024 – stay tuned to our socials for more details!
2023 Freeplay Award Categories:
- The Freeplay Award (Best Game)
- Excellence in Design
- Excellence in Visual Art
- Excellence in Audio
- Excellence in Narrative
- Non-Digital Game Award
- Micro-Game Award
- Experimental Game Award
- Emerging Game Developers Award
- Across The Ditch Award (New Zealand/Oceania)
All games will be considered for The Freeplay Award (Best Game).
Short descriptions of each category may be found on the submission form.
Work released or presented publicly after 26th April 2021 are eligible for the 2023 Awards round. Entries need to be complete or near complete: near complete entries (e.g. demos, Early Access) need to be representative of the final product.
Please read before applying:
Wednesday 25th October 2023, 11:59pm (AEDT)
Submissions close in:
2023 Freeplay Awards Jury
Creatrix Tiara (Awards Lead, VIC)
Creatrix Tiara is the first ever Awards Lead for Freeplay, one of the longest-running festivals for independent games in the world. Tiara works with creative arts and media, technology, games, community cultural development, and education to explore ideas around community, identity, liminality, belonging, and social justice, with a particular interest in bringing together different artforms in emerging and experimental ways. Currently Tiara is very interested in ways to bring video games and performing arts together, such as analysing stage magic in video games as part of their PNGTubing stream or producing & directing ACNH Fringe, a Fringe Festival held within a dedicated Animal Crossing: New Horizons island.
Alex Wynnter (VIC) is the Creative Director of Red Genie Games and a very busy dude. Along with recent fatherhood he juggles podcasting, designing and developing games, teaching design, managing the TGDA Facebook group and generally being a man about town in the Australian board gaming community.
Cecile Richard (VIC) is an award-winning graphic designer and game maker who makes cool things on the computer and lives on Wurundjeri land aka Melbourne.
Dakoda Barker (VIC) is a designer, writer, and consultant, and has won awards for his work, including the Freeplay Independent Games Festival micro-game award for ‘Rise’. He specialises in the areas of chronic health conditions and Aboriginal Australia, and also works as a freelance writer and editor.
Dan Ferguson (VIC) is a Melbourne-based games designer and artist who won a 2021 Freeplay Award for his game Completely Stretchy and Uncomfortably Sticky.
dana mckay (ACT) is a writer and award winning game designer with a passion for storytelling in any medium or form. When Dana’s not doing that, Dana plays guitar and make questionable decisions in RPGs. Dana currently works as a Game Designer at EA Firemonkeys and won a 2021 Freeplay Award for A Long Goodbye.
Edwin Montgomery (NSW) is a composer, musician and mixed media artist who works across film, games, immersive theatre, installations and mixed media artworks. They are known for the epic orchestral soundtrack to Warhammer 40,000: Regicide, the dystopian soundtrack to Wasteland and their live solo performances of original multi-instrumental film scores. Edwin also creates sonic-driven interactive multimedia artworks and games, including Neon Cyborg Cat Club (winner of the 2021 Freeplay Experimental Game Award); and Isolationist Nightclub Simulator, an online interactive music experience funded by Creative Victoria.
Ella Lim (TAS) is an award winning TTRPG writer, graphic designer and zine maker. Currently she runs her online shop and freelance graphic design full time. As part of LostWays, Ella won a 2021 Freeplay Award for The Lighthouse at the End of the Universe.
Jarra Karaliner Steel (VIC) is a Multidisciplinary artist based in Melbourne’s south in Euro Yuroke (St Kilda) on Boonwurrung country. Jarra is of the Yaluk-ut Weelam clan of the Boonwurrung, Wemba Wemba, Pairrebeenne/Trawlwoolway with lines to the Barrup Barrup clans. She also is of English and Scottish descent. Jarra is a passionate advocate for Self-Representation/determination of Victorian First Peoples Art and Culture and is determined in making sure it is kept alive and thriving. Jarra is currently the curator for the 2022 Rising Art Trams and the Art Director for GUCK Inc. for an untitled video game.
Marisa Wikramanayake (VIC) is a Sri Lankan-born, Australia-based creative writer, journalist and editor. They currently write about property investment and development for The Urban Developer and have previously reported for The Age, The South China Morning Post, and The Guardian among others. They have written about international politics, business, science and the arts. They have been longlisted for manuscript awards for their first literary novel and were awarded the inaugural KSP-Varuna Foundation Fellowship working on their first crime fiction novel. They are the current Victorian media section president for the MEAA and the deputy president for the MEAA’s Ethics Committee. They are also an avid gamer and stream gameplay and writing online on Twitch.
Noah Seymour (QLD) is a game designer that makes small games mostly focused on exploring spaces. They won a 2021 Freeplay Award for Webbed.
Phoebe Watson (VIC) is a proud Yarrer Gunditj woman from the Maar Nation in South West Victoria. Phoebe graduated from RMIT in 2020 with a bachelors degree in Game Design. Since graduating she has continued to work in the games industry working locally with GUCK on their unannounced indigenous led project as a game designer. Phoebe has worked locally within Melbourne and Australia as well as internationally with Star Stable Entertainment on their new project as a writer and junior designer, and Ubisoft in a small sensitivity reading role on Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.
The Freeplay Award: Umurangi Generation
Excellence in Design: Webbed
Excellence in Visual Art: Completely Stretchy and Uncomfortably Sticky
Excellence in Audio: Mealmates
Excellence in Narrative: A Long Goodbye
Non-Digital Game Award: The Lighthouse at the End of the Universe
Micro-Game Award: UNDER A STAR CALLED SUN
Experimental Game Award: Neon Cyborg Cat Club
Student Game Award: The Snowgardens
Across The Ditch Award: Before We Leave
The Freeplay Award: A Hand With Many Fingers
Excellence in Design: A Hand with Many Fingers
Excellence in Visual Art: ENDLESS SCROLL
Excellence in Audio: Unfamiliar
Excellence in Narrative: Life Tastes Like Cardboard
Non-Digital Game Award: The Outer Whorls
Micro-Game Award: Something Looks Weird
Experimental Game Award: If We Were Allowed To Visit
Student Game Award: Ascent of Grob’s Domain
Across The Ditch Award: Leap of Leaf
The Freeplay Award: New Ice York
Excellence in Design: JUMPGRID
Excellence in Visual Art: Necrobarista
Excellence in Audio: Skyward Journey
Excellence in Narrative: The Haunted Island, a Frog Detective Game
Non-Digital Game Award: Edible Games Cookbook
Micro-Game Award: Novena
Experimental Game Award: The Common Campfire
Student Game Award: Pigeon Game
Across The Ditch Award: Toripon 鳥ポン