A huge hello and welcome to 2018 from the Freeplay family! We have lots of exciting things to share with you this year.

First on our list is the 2018 festival dates. We’re happy to announce that we have a six-day festival planned for this year, and the dates for Freeplay 2018 are May 22nd to May 27th, with a two-day conference on the weekend. The festival will be packed with international keynotes, lots of talks, conversations, panels, online sessions, screenings, workshops, exhibitions and performances, street games, a party, a public games showcase, and an awards night!

Speaking of awards, we’re happy to announce that submissions for the 2018 Freeplay Awards are now open! We’re very happy to have Cherie Davidson return as Chair of the Freeplay Awards. Cherie will be leading a panel of 10 judges from across Australia (with a New Zealand representative too!).

“Undoubtedly, this year’s Freeplay Awards will be the most vibrant and powerful yet, reflecting the ever-growing artful creativity and diversity of Australian and New Zealand game crafters’ skills. To those submitting, we are thrilled to see what the ideas you have been nurturing and cultivating since 2015. To everyone else, please join us in this celebration of beautiful, weird and provocative games.”

-Cherie Davidson, Chair of the Freeplay Awards

We’ve tweaked our Award categories a little and have introduced a few new ones this year. The 2018 Freeplay Award categories are as follows:

  • 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
  • Student Game Award
  • Across The Ditch Award

New to 2018’s Freeplay Awards is the Across The Ditch Award, a category we share with Play By Play, our sister games festival in New Zealand. This is a special category that our Kiwi developer friends can submit to! We’ve also introduced the Micro-Game Award category for games that are explicitly designed to be short form (1 hour or less to complete). We also now have a Student Game Award category for all full-time and part-time students and student-led teams. Last but not least, we have renamed our Technical Innovation category to Experimental Game Award as we feel it better reflects the types of games we want to see, and how we want to frame them. A brief description of the categories can be found on the submission form.

Submissions will close on Friday 30th March at 11:59pm (AEST), and finalists will be announced six weeks after the submission closing date. The Awards ceremony will take place on the final day of the festival, Sunday May 27nd. So go and read the submission guidelines, and then submit your games when you’re ready!

We’re very excited to see what you’ve all been working on!

Finally, we’ll be announcing more Freeplay 2018 news soon, including our keynotes, theme, 2018 visual identity, our venues, speakers, tickets, and volunteer opportunities, so do watch this space. We hope to put out a call for game showcase submissions and a call for speakers soon, but in the meantime, if you would like to get involved in any way, or if there’s anything you want to see or hear at Freeplay this year, please get in touch! We would love to hear from you.

Awards and Judges can be found here.

Submit your games here.

Rules & submission guidelines are here.