After having announced our festival keynotes and dates (May 7-12), we’re now thrilled to announce that our 2019 Freeplay Awards are open for submissions! Deadline for submissions is Sunday 31st March, 11:59 PM (AEST).

The Freeplay Awards have been a long-standing cornerstone of the festival, celebrating new and emerging voices, and bold ideas. We’re excited to have the lovely Jason Imms on board as our new Chair of the Freeplay Awards. Jason has been a huge advocate for independent games in the ANZ region, we’re blessed to have him on board.

Speaking to Jason, he shares the following words on the Freeplay Awards:

“The Freeplay Awards are a celebration of what it is to be a game maker. They’re not about trotting out praise for the same old creators, or celebrating the games that make the most bank, they’re about taking a moment to appreciate what games aspire to change, to challenge, and to make people feel. We’re so excited to see what the incredible and diverse Australian and New Zealand game makers have to show us this year, and can’t wait to spend too many hours deliberating over games we truly care for.”

2018 Freeplay Awards Ceremony. Photo by David Ma.

We’ve carried on our categories from last year, which received record breaking submissions. The 2019 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

We’re delighted to bring back the Across The Ditch Award, a category initiated by and shared 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’re also bringing back the Micro-Game Award category for games that are explicitly designed to be short form (1 hour or less to complete). We also have our Student Game Award category for all full-time and part-time students and student-led teams. Last but not least, we have our popular Experimental Game Award category making its return, these categories help us frame the types of games we want to see made and celebrated in games.

A brief description of the categories can be found on the submission form.

Submissions will close on Sunday 31st March at 11:59pm (AEST), and finalists will be announced five weeks after the submission closing date. The Awards ceremony will take place on the final day of the festival, Sunday May 12th. Please read the submission guidelines before filling in the form, and 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 2019 news soon, including our additional international guests, talk submissions, volunteer opportunities, and festival tickets, so do watch this space. In the meantime, if you would like to get involved in any way, if you have an idea, 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.

Go on and check our Awards page for more info, including all previous Freeplay Award recipients.

Rules & submission guidelines are here.