2012 Freeplay Independent Games Festival

Last week I volunteered for the Freeplay festival, held in Melbourne between 19-23 September.

It was really humbling to help out Paul Callaghan and Ben McKenzie and to ensure everything was running smoothly while I was there. Setting up the State Library as well as ushering support acts for the Games By The Fire event were particularly fun, and I managed to make some new friends and meet a few people in the Australian industry along the way.

Being involved in the festival really made me feel a part of the culture here in Melbourne.

Aside from actually volunteering, there were some excellent speakers during the Developer’s Program on the Thursday. Many of the talks gave a real insight into the ins and outs of running a business in the games industry, mostly on a small scale or independent basis – everything from finance to pitching to negotiation.

The highlight of course was the In-Conversation with Tetsuya Mizuguchi, in conjunction with the Game Masters Exhibition that was still running at ACMI. He was such an amazing individual to have on stage and to share his memories throughout his time in the global industry, and to see him actually play his own games – Space Channel 5, Rez and Child of Eden – was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. A master at his own craft! Mizuguchi comes across as someone who has really seen the evolution of games over the past two decades; I think everyone there that night could agree on that. What’s more, his passion for music in games and the way the player can interact with the unlimited possibilities music can bring as a mechanic was extraordinary.

He left the audience open-mouthed and gaping when we observed him sync the right buttons in perfect timing to Space Channel 5 with his eyes turned away from the screen!!! Mind blowing really.

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