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The Freeplay 2018 Awards Finalists

The Freeplay Award

The Catacombs of Solaris – Ian MacLarty

Excellence in Design

  • Exo One – Exbleative
  • Knuckle Sandwich – Andrew Brophy
  • Dissembler – Ian MacLarty
  • Skyward – Rule & Make
  • Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy – Bennett Foddy

Excellence in Visual Art

  • Tala & the Flower Seed – Matthew Petrak
  • The Gardens Between – The Voxel Agents
  • Exo One – Exbleative
  • Desert Child – Oscar Brittain
  • Paperbark – Paper House

Excellence in Audio

  • Deios II // DEIDIA – BARCHboi
  • Florence – Mountains
  • Ticket – magicdweedoo
  • Knuckle Sandwich – Andrew Brophy
  • Exo One – Exbleative
Excellence in Narrative

  • Breakfast Cult – Paul Matijevic
  • Bound By Blood – Jessica Gates
  • Florence – Mountains
  • Knuckle Sandwich – Andrew Brophy
  • {<>} – Albey Amakiir, Nicholas Staracek, Erika Verkaaik & Aaron Williams

Non-Digital Game Award

  • Entropy: Worlds Collide – Rule & Make
  • LAIKA – Melody Watson
  • Breakfast Cult – Paul Matijevic
  • {<>} – Albey Amakiir, Nicholas Staracek, Erika Verkaaik & Aaron Williams
  • It Is Forbidden – Tin Star Games

Micro-Game Award

  • Rise – Dakoda Barker
  • Detachment – Jane Cocks
  • The Catacombs of Solaris – Ian MacLarty
  • My Lil Fanfic – Star Paridaes
  • LAIKA – Melody Watson
Experimental Game Award

  • Ticket – magicdweedoo
  • Deios II // DEIDIA – BARCHboi
  • WORLD4 – Alexander Muscat
  • Thomas Bowker’s Draw – Thomas Bowker
  • The Catacombs of Solaris – Ian MacLarty

Student Game Award

  • Bound By Blood – Jessica Gates
  • That Boy Is A Monstr – Sav Ferguson
  • An Aspie Life – EnderLost Studios
  • Just, Bearly – Daniel J Roberts
  • Project Bluebook – Bathysphere Studios
  • Lacuna – TeamFourthEye

Across The Ditch Award

  • Flutter VR – Runaway Play
  • Tales of the Crooked Girl Scout – Sergio Cornaga
  • Robin – Team Summer
  • 39 Days to Mars – It’s Anecdotal
  • Echo Grotto – Gaugepunk Games

Honourable Mentions

  • The Thin Silence – Two PM Studios
  • The Maître D’ – Seadads
  • The American Dream – Samurai Punk
  • Museum of Communication – Pity Party
  • Wildfire – Sneaky Bastards
  • Alien Caseno – Grace Bruxner
  • Summertime SPLASH Fish Volleyball Paint DELUXE – Marben Exposito
  • Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles – Prideful Sloth

2018 Freeplay Awards Jury

Cherie Davidson (Jury Chair/VIC) is a jack-of-all-trades game developer and teacher, currently working as a producer & programmer on multiple indie games, including Intergalactic Space Princess. Previously at Media Molecule, she worked as Associate Producer on Dreams and Tearaway Unfolded. In 2015 she was Freeplay Independent Games Festival’s first ever Jury Chair. She has lectured and tutored game development at Melbourne’s RMIT University from 2012 to 2015, in 2016 she was named in Develop’s 30 under 30 and in 2017 she was nominated in DevelopHER and selected to join BAFTA crew. She has a strong interest in meaningful game design and loves the technical joy of problem-solving through code. In her spare time, she develops games fuelled by her personal interest in topics of feminism, social justice, ludonarrative resonance and occasionally even fun.
Ben McKenzie (VIC) is an actor, comedian, writer and game designer. Ben is one of the core team behind Pop Up Playground, Australia’s premier live games company. He’s designed, written and produced dozens of live games, including the hit bank heist adventure Small Time Criminals. He’s also lead writer on a Tin Man Games new VR game, and runs digital and non-digital game workshops, independently and with arts centres. He’s worked with Freeplay since 2012 as an MC, judge and production manager, and is delighted to be back in 2018.
Leena van Deventer (VIC) teaches interactive storytelling at the Victorian College of the Arts and RMIT University. In 2013 she co-founded WiDGET, and in 2016 co-authored “Game Changers: From Minecraft to misogyny, the fight for the future of videogames” for Affirm Press. Leena is the Deputy Chair of the Games and Interactive Advisory Committee for the Australian Writers Guild and sits on the Board of Directors of the Victorian Women’s Trust.
Lexie Mason-Davis (VIC) is a multidisciplinary artist and game developer most known for their work as a 3D artist on Fullbright’s Tacoma. They are currently working as a background painter for a new animated series, and as an environment art lead and designer for an unannounced VR project. Queer representation and thoughtful world building are two of the passions that inform their work. They enjoy cooking, makeup, true crime, cryptids, and long form media critique.
Barnaby RW (VIC) is an artist and designer with experience ranging from digital games and virtual reality to more physical works such as escape rooms and installation art. He co-founded Wonder Consortium in 2014 with whom he organised games parties and live projection for music events. In 2016 he designed and built the lighting, electronics and computer systems of the original Earthrise One escape room and is now working on the new Earthrise One as part of PlayReactive. His interests are in the intersection of physical and digital spaces.
John Carroll (VIC) is a game programmer based in Melbourne. He has worked with Evil Genius, CDoor, and is now currently working on some smaller projects of his own. Outside of games, he enjoys participating in various sports and pretending to fly.
Farah Khalaf (VIC/NZ) is a kiwi from Auckland who recently moved to Melbourne to pursue a career in game development, where she works as an associate producer at the Game Developer’s Association of Australia. Her previous work includes working on the NZGDA Board, co-organising conferences such as NZGDC and volunteering at GCAP. In her spare time, Farah likes to make digital art, and is passionate about game environments and animation.
Brendan Keogh (QLD) is a Discovery Early Career Research Fellow in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology. He writes and researches about videogame cultures and development, and is the author of Killing is Harmless and A Play of Bodies.
photo by Emily McAllan @blackwoolsays
Damon Reece (SA) is an Adelaide-based narrative designer. They specialize in open-world and modular narrative, and are passionate about pushing for better inclusion of transgender, genderqueer, and non-binary people in the games industry. Damon’s most recent projects include Necrobarista, Australian Game Developer Award winner Hacknet – Labyrinths, and ‘watch this space’.

Photo by Emily McAllan @blackwoolsays

Alexander Ocias (NSW) is creating worlds with power in order to take away yours. An artist, game designer and programmer in Sydney, he has also created hundreds of thousands of birds for a film, an interactive video wall in a biomedical plant, and an avocado you can talk to. His videogames have been featured in exhibitions in Melbourne, France, Israel and Belgium.
Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie (WA) has been playfully preparing humans for the future since 2003. She is the Founder and Director of Playup Perth, a work-in-progress showcase, which has supported the development of over 100 games and creative innovations. She is also the Founder of Future Human Academy, which helps young people to thrive in an uncertain future. Dr. Kate was named as the Australian Computer Society’s ICT Professional of the Year 2016 and is a nominee for the 2018 Business News 40 Under 40.
Sofie Mather (WA) co-runs Perth’s game dev co-working space ‘Loading Space’. Helps coordinate Playup Perth and is enjoying exploring what community means to her. She was inspired by her time as a producer with SK Games [Bar SK] and its relocation to Melbourne to co-found Potluck Collective, a space for creative people to show off works and explore alternate mediums in a *very* relaxed environment [and she *really* loves it a lot]. Sofie appreciates time with her plants.
Jason Imms (TAS) is the host of the Game Hugs Podcast, managing director of Australia’s first games-focused quality assurance company The Machine QA, and a freelance games and tech journalist for GameSpot, Giant Bomb, Kill Screen, Hyper Magazine, PC PowerPlay, and many others. As both a critic and a quality consultant, Jason looks forward to running a judgemental eye over this year’s cohort of amazing Freeplay Awards finalists.

Previous Awards




The Freeplay Award: Push Me Pull You


Category Winners

Best Design: Push Me Pull You

Best Visual Art: Movement Study 1

Best Audio: Submerged

Best Narrative: Project Ven

Best TechSpace Dust Racers

Best Non-Digital: Rise to Power



Best Game: Framed


Category Winners

Design: Framed

Visual Art: The Paper Fox

Audio Design: Particulars

Narrative: Particulars

Technical Innovation: Turnover

Non-Digital: Outside These City Walls

People’s Choice: Turnover



Best Australian Game: Stickets


Category Winners

Best Design in a Game: They Love You

Best International Game: Splice

Best Art in a Game: Toybox

Best Concept Art: Peleda

Best Audio in a Game: Lunar Flight

Best Technical Innovation: Automation

Best Writing in a Game: Flatland: Fallen Angle



Best Australian Game: Antichamber


Category Winners

Best International Game: The Swapper

Best Design: Antichamber

Best On-Paper Design: Dead Eye

Best Art: Warco

Best Concept Art: Firo

Best Technical Innovation: Kingspray

Best Game Writing: MacGuffin’s Curse

Best Audio: Solar 2



Best Australian Game: Jolly Rover


Category Winners

Best Design in a Game: Up Down Ready

Best On-Paper Design: iCrazy Man

Best Art in a Game: Captain Forever (Series)

Best Concept Art: Exodus

Best Technical Innovation: Colourbind

Best Game Writing: Transumer

Best Audio: Train Conductor

Best International Game: Last Hope