Emerging from Freeplay, things haven’t particularly slowed down – and digging through my submissions, it looks I missed a few things too.
Over at the Australia Council’s Connecting Arts Audiences online (back in July!), I wrote some pieces on technology & playful engagement.
I was born in 1977—the year Star Wars was released—and I grew up with video games. I remember a time when they didn’t exist for me. I fought with my parents about pursuing games as a career, but along with books, films, music and magazines, video games defined my sense of cultural belonging, my formative places, experiences and relationships. I remember coming home from school at lunchtime to load up a game from a tape and race around a pirate-filled treasure island. I remember on holiday trying to stretch my daily allowance for as long as I could in the local arcades. I remember eight friends huddled in front of a tiny screen, passing the controller around in an easygoing tournament of Street Fighter. I remember a Star Wars game etched out in glowing green lines and the crackly voice of Alec Guinness telling me to trust the force as I blasted apart TIE Fighters.
Over at the ibrary, part of the Brisbane City Council library’s website, I did a month long blogging residency about game development and writing. In one of the posts, I realised that pretty much everything I was playing in September was a version of a game from my formative years.
Going back even further, I’ve been playing the remake of Another World on my iPad. The original was released on 1991 – 20 years ago – on the Amiga, which is where I played it originally. It was the first game I’d ever seen that felt cinematic. The opening sequence – which is completely silent – blew me away at the time, and I still got goosebumps watching it again sitting on my couch.
In Freeplay related news, we’ve been working with the National Gallery of Victoria Studio to curate the Game/Play exhibition running from September 23 – Nov 5. As well as the exhibition component, we’re also running some events across the whole 6 weeks:
- Late Night Board Games Every Thursday night during the Exhibition
- A Game Jam on the weekend of the 15th & 16th
- A Playday on October 29th
Head over to the Freeplay site for more details.
I think we’re in the beginning of a golden age of videogames where technology is no-longer the limiting factor, where we’re moving away from What can we make this new console ‘do’? to What can we say using the structures, rhythms and shapes of games? New designers are appearing, who have grown up in a world where videogames are a fact of life. Artists from visual arts, film, literature, music, or sculpture are becoming interested in the form and they’re creating things that may only peripherally resemble the games of my childhood, but which create emotional experiences unlike anything that’s come before.
And that gives me hope.
I took part in Kate Lundy’s recent Public Sphere Consultation on the National Cultural Policy. first through submission to the game development section of the Wiki and secondly because I sadly couldn’t make it up through a short video presentation.
And lastly, I’m going to be talking at Pause Fest on November 8th at 6:30 about Systems as Art, and will be taking part in this year’s Game Connect Asia Pacific from November 14th – 16th talking about cultural language, and taking part on a panel about assessment procedures.