It’s that time of the year again! After months of hard work, our team is thrilled to reveal Freeplay Parallels 2021 and our exciting lineup of games and speakers. Parallels will return in 2021 as a free live-streamed event, as part of Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW).

Join us at 7PM on Thursday 7th October, as our speakers play and talk about their creations, inspirations, creative journeys, and intimate stories.

In 2021, we have 7 exceptional speakers from across Australia and beyond, from bedroom coders to international stars. We can’t wait for you to meet them!

This year’s spectacular visual identity art was created by Cole Williams. Together with Freeplay’s Visual Art Lead Goldie Bartlett, Cole produced a strikingly unique design for this year’s Parallels. Our wonderful Parallels 2021 trailer was created by none other than Dan Golding.

A big shoutout to the Parallels 2021 team: Chad Toprak, Ben Turner, Pritika Sachdev, Terry Burdak, Goldie Bartlett, Jae Stuart, Cecile Richard, Cole Williams, and Dan Golding.

You can follow the Parallels conversation on Twitter via the #Parallels21 hashtag.

You can support Freeplay and Parallels by opting to purchase a support pass or exclusive Parallels 2021 merch, via the buttons below. Your contributions go directly towards paying our speakers and staff.

Freeplay’s Parallels 2021 is proudly supported by Creative Victoria. Parallels ZONE is developed by Cecile Richard & Jae Stuart, The Capitol is brought to you by RMIT. A big thank you to our sponsors House House and 2pt Interactive.

If you have any questions or enquiries, please reach out: info [at]


Short talks, heartfelt games.

Parallels is a one-night-only curated showcase of some of the most experimental, personal, and culturally significant work being made in and around Australia’s independent games communities today. From the artsy, to the weird, to the provocative and punk. The event is hailed as one of the biggest highlights of MIGW by local and international attendees.

Parallels provides a unique platform for emerging and established Australian independent game makers to talk live on stage about the art and craft, and the heart and soul of their projects. This is the very essence of Parallels. Short talks, heartfelt games. This provides an intimate and invaluable window into the behind the scenes of these games and allows the game makers to share their personal stories of challenge, frustration, and success; stories that would otherwise go unheard, unspoken, or unnoticed.

Streamed live, free to attend, available to view online on demand.

Parallels 2021 will be hosted for free online, streamed live to YouTube, and free for all attendees to view. Complimentary to the digital event will be the Freeplay ZONE, an online social space where attendees can engage and interact with one another and watch the live stream.

The Freeplay ZONE is returning.

Parallels 2021 will feature the Freeplay ZONE, a complimentary online social space created by Jae Stuart & Cecile Ricahrd, originally commissioned for Freeplay’s festival in June 2020. In the Freeplay ZONE, attendees are able to interact with others in a social text-based chat environment, move around the virtual venue using a customisable pixel-art avatar, watch the live-stream in a dedicated theatre room, and play browser-based games that are curated and exhibited within the space. The ZONE is accessed via a web browser, no additional downloads or extensions are required, and is not paywalled. For 2021’s Parallels, with RMIT’s blessing, the pixel-art version of The Capitol will return, allowing attendees to view the live stream from within the ZONE. Attendees will be able to chat, mingle, and play games before and after the event.

Freeplay is the world’s longest-running independent games festival.

Established in 2004, Freeplay has been spotlighting and platforming emerging and marginalised artists, championing Australia’s leading game makers, and exploring the vital margins of independent, alternative, and experimental games. For over 16 years, Freeplay has been encouraging critical, personal, political, and cross-disciplinary dialogue and artistic engagement. Freeplay is committed to fostering an inclusive, positive, and playful culture, and promoting game making as arts-practice and a means of societal, cultural, educational, and economic development.

Freeplay Parallels Testimonials:

  • “Parallels is by far the biggest highlight of MIGW.”
  • “The most inspiring and heartwarming event of MIGW”
  • “Parallels provides a creative space to celebrate the diversity of the industry and the wide array of ideas that are being created across the world.”
  • “Freeplay Parallels helped me to reconnect with the community and art of making games.”
  • “Heartfelt and honest talks from diverse voices in games.”
  • “Parallels sheds a much-needed spotlight on the people doing unique, wholesome and/or meaningful work within our local games scene.”
  • “Parallels is an invaluable, must go to event if you care about videogames as an art form.”
  • “It re-ignited my enjoyment for making games, and reminded me that making games non-professionally is valid, worthwhile and important.”
  • “Parallels was so wholesome and lovely. I came out of it inspired to create my own games, and I haven’t made a personal game in over two years.”
  • “A wonderful event, even for someone who isn’t a developer. Full of beauty and diversity.”
  • “Parallels is such integral part of MIGW, it’s inspiring and a real solid reminder that games ARE art!”
  • “It was incredible to see the depth and diversity of the region’s developers and creative minds. I laughed, I cried, and for the first time in as long as I can remember I was proud to be an Australian, growing up around such rich and incredible talent.”
  • “This was my first Freeplay, and although I live in Canada, I promise that it won’t be my last. What a beautiful event!”
  • “A fantastic event for new emerging game developers to connect with a warm and welcoming Melbourne community!”
  • “Parallels was one of the most friendly and vibrant experiences I’ve had talking to gamedev people, and the curation is fantastic!”
  • “Parallels allows us to connect with gamemakers on a personal and human level, getting a glimpse into their intimate journeys as artists.”
  • “Freeplay is the spirit of creating art games. It provides a space for fringe-dwelling creators to gain validation. Super important!”
  • “Freeplay pulls the weird, wholesome, emotional and joyful out of the shadows and shows just exactly how big and beautiful videogames can be.”