It’s Melbourne International Games Week, which means there is more than enough games-related content to go around (as if October wasn’t intense enough already). This year, because the apocalypse is still happening, the MIGW and PAX Australia Online events aren’t just limited to those physically in Melbourne, but merely those with access to the internet.
While there is a tonne of stuff, and almost all of it is worth watching, here are my picks for the week:
Tuesday October 5
The MIGW 2021 Steam Celebration ends today, but there’s still some discounts and entertainment to be enjoyed before it’s gone. You can catch it here.
Those interested in fashion design won’t want to miss this stream from Melbourne fashion label Button Fox creating clothing inspired by digital games. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the art of creating clothes. You can find more info here.
If you’re wanting to make a game in the state of Victoria, this Australia – Get Over Here webinar will feature information on everything you need to know to start up a game studio of any size. It’ll include info on tax offsets, an overview of the existing studios, and how to attract talent from anywhere in the world (and get them here). Speakers include Paul Fletcher (the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts), Peter Verwer (Prime Minister’s Special Envoy), Caroline Pitcher (Film Victoria), Grainne Brunsdon (Screen NSW), Kate Croser (South Australian Film Corporation), Raelene Knowles (IGEA), Ben Lee (Blowfish Studios), Blake Mizzi (League of Geeks), Dylan Miklashek (Gameloft Brisbane), Joey Egger (Two Moos), Ron Curry (IGEA), and Sarah Rose (Global Talent Officer London) from the Australian Government’s Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce. You can get all the info here.
Wednesday October 6
Running from October 5 – 7, The Games For Change Asia Pacific Festival is a free virtual festival connecting developers, researchers, practitioners and consumers. Today’s panels include ones on Games for Health, Testing The Range Of Serious Games, Designing Exclusive Games, and Learning Through Gaming. But there is so much important stuff to check out here.
Kicking off at 7pm, the Melbourne Queer Games Festival + Awards promises to show off the best of what queer games have to offer. Check it out here.
Celebrating the best of Australian Games, the Australian Game Developer Awards for 2021 are running from 7pm-10pm.
Thursday October 7
The Games For Change Asia Pacific Festival continues today, with highlights including Technology For Better Health Outcomes, Games for cultural and environmental preservation, and Utilize Games to Improve Parent-Child Relationships and Parent-Child Health During COVID-19. Get more info here.
Attention musicians: If you’ve ever wanted to create work for video games, then you need to tune into the free Music In Games event, presented by the Australian Independent Record Labels Association. It runs from10am-1pm.
From the people who brought you Freeplay comes Parallels, an event that showcases unique, experimental and personal Australian games. It runs from 7pm-9pm and is a must-see.
Ever dreamed of making your own tabletop game? Devcon 2021 is the place for you.
Friday October 8
If you can tear yourself away from the constant goodness of PAX’s panels, the Esports Australia Summit for 2021 is taking place from 11am-4pm with key panels on the Esports Industry in Australia. If you want to be involved with the business of esports, this is going to be an essential event.
PAX Australia Online: Friday October 8
OK, so there is so much going on at PAX, including playable games, streams, panels, and a Discord server. It’s not the same as being in person, but there is still more stuff to do than is physically possible to achieve in 72 hours. I’m only going to cover some recommended panels here, but you should absolutely explore the website and check out everything.
11:30am-12:30pm: PAX Storytime with Innersloth will open the event and give you the inside story on the creation of Among Us.
1:45pm-2:45pm: World-building for MMOs with The Elder Scrolls Online. This panel features Rich Lambert and Matt Firor from Zenimax Studios, alongside journalist Seamus Byrne, talking about the creation of the Blackwood chapter for TESO.
3:00pm-4:00pm: PAX Together: In Conversation with Katy Jo Wright, Director of Gaming For Everyone at Xbox: Gaming That is Accessible for All. This discussion about Gaming For Everyone and the progress of accessibility in games isn’t just a must watch because I’m (Alice Clarke) hosting it, but because Katy Jo drops some fascinating advice and inspiration on this panel. The one thing all gamers have in common is that, if they’re lucky enough to live long enough, we will all eventually need accessibility options, here’s how Xbox is working to make sure everyone can play.
4:00pm-5:00pm: Omegathon Round 1: TopplePOP Bungee Blocks. The Omegathon is a PAX tradition, and this year is starting with a bang.
4:30pm-5:30pm: Speedrunning: From Total Beginner to World Record Holder. Ever wanted to become a speedrunner? Noops lays out how it all works in this panel.
5:15pm-6:15pm: Indie Showcase Showcase: Tabletop. This is your chance to meet and learn about the award-winning tabletop designers from the Aus Indie Showcase.
PAX Saturday October 9
11:00am-12:00pm: Games to Reality: Funding the Dream (during a pandemic). Ever wondered how to get someone’s money so you can make your game? Here’s some insight into how to do it.
12:15pm-1:15pm: Press X to SCIENCE! Is a PAX Aus stalwart exploring the intersections of science and games, and is always a good time.
1:30pm-2:30pm: Decolonising Gaming Spaces. This extremely important panel features Indigenous experts talking about “about their experiences and journeys to decolonising gaming spaces”. It’s on PAX3, and it’s a must-see.
1:30pm-2:30pm: Won’t Someone Think of the Children? Why Australia Bans Games. Ever wondered how Australia’s classification system works? Find out in this panel.
5:15pm-6:45pm: Indigenous D&D: The Chicken Salt Baes. Come watch this hilarious group from Indigitek play D&D.
6:30pm-7:30pm: Fireside with DEATHLOOP’s Dinga Bakaba. Come listen to the developer behind one of the year’s biggest games talk about how it was made.
7:45pm-8:45pm: PAX Together: NerdKwiz. This has been a PAX Aus Diversity Lounge tradition since the very beginning. NerdKwiz is a trivia show about gaming, pop culture and queer tropes. And, because I’m (Alice Clarke) one of the hosts, I can tell you that it’s very good and funny this year.
PAX Sunday October 10
11:00am-12:00pm: Indigenous Narratives in Gaming: Māori Storytelling. This panel sounds amazing, judging by the description: “Why is it important for Australasia to make space for indigeneity in games? Why is authenticity so important? The 4Phase team are new game developers creating a Māori RPG that constantly requires focused decolonisation.”
12:15pm-1:15pm: Videogames and education: Phoenix Perry debunks the myths. Learn more about the benefits of using video games in education.
1:00pm-6:45pm: Rainbow Six Oceanic Nationals Playoffs. If you watch only one Esports thing this weekend, and enjoy Rainbow Six Siege, then this is the one to choose.
5:15pm-6:15pm: Mental Health and the Benefits of Video Games. “Join this panel of health professionals and gamers as they discuss what is fact and fiction in the relationship between mental health and video games, looking at topics such as representation, stigma, coping mechanisms, and support strategies.”
6:00pm-7:00pm: Omegathon Final. In an end of PAX tradition, watch the two remaining competitors compete in something that is no doubt both silly and funny.
Look, I will admit that I’m quite biased when it comes to PAX Together (formerly known as the Pax Aus Diversity Lounge), since my wife and I run it. But we have a pretty epic line-up this week and it’s well worth tuning into. Here’s everything we’re running:
Friday 2:00pm-3:00pm: PAX Together: Aiming for Authenticity: The Role of Consultation in Telling Diverse Stories. Join Jess Zammit from non-profit Represent Me as she shares the experience of sensitivity readers and diversity consultants, and how the whole thing works.
Friday 3:00pm-4:00pm: PAX Together: In Conversation with Katy Jo Wright, Director of Gaming For Everyone at Xbox: Gaming That is Accessible for All. As I said above, Gaming For Everyone has been a hugely impactful force for change not just across Xbox, but the entire industry.
Friday 7:00pm-8:00pm: PAX Together: What Kind of Year Has It Been? In this panel, Jess Zammit and I (Alice Clarke) discuss queer representation in pop-culture for the last 12 months, and whether things are starting to change for the better. Are all the lesbians dead again? Find out at 7pm.
Saturday 1:30pm-2:30pm: PAX Together: The Ice Cream Social Experiment: Lab Notes. There is a real problem with all the video games networking events taking place in alcohol-focussed places. The team behind the Ice Cream Social Experiment share how and why they decided to change things.
Saturday 7:45pm-8:45pm: PAX Together: NerdKwiz. This has been a PAX Aus Diversity Lounge tradition since the very beginning. NerdKwiz is a trivia show about gaming, pop culture and queer tropes. And, because I’m (Alice Clarke) one of the hosts, I can tell you that it’s very good and funny this year. Viewer-favourite round Dead, Evil, Pregnant (match the same-sex attracted female character with the trope she ended up in) is back as well, so that’s something to look forward to.
Sunday 1:30pm-2:00pm: PAX Together: Letting go with Humble Grove and No Longer Home. The developers behind hot new indie game No Longer Home tell you about its development and story.
Sunday 4:00pm-4:45pm: PAX Together: The Lab – Tech Games Fun. Longtime PAX Together community group, The Lab, is back to tell you all about what this technology social club for young people with autism has been up to since we saw them last.
There’s also going to be a tonne of meetups in the PAX Together Discord happening all weekend, so you can hang with old friends, make new ones, and network. You can find the details of all of them on the website closer to the weekend.