MIGW 2023: What To See, Do, And Eat In Melbourne During Games Week

MIGW 2023: What To See, Do, And Eat In Melbourne During Games Week

Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW) is less than a week away, and whether you’re a Melbourne local or travelling to the city known for its great coffee (and local gaming scene) for the first time, there’s an overwhelming amount to see, eat, and do during what I’m dubbing the domestic version of gamer Christmas. If you’re not quite sure where to start, we’ve got you covered with a primer of all things Melbourne to check out, from official MIGW events outside of PAX Aus and GCAP, to gaming-themed bars and cafes so you can make the most of the week. 

Some of the events and locations referenced are 18+ and serve alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

MIGW: Things To Do

Loading Screen MIGW Launch

Sunday, 1 October 6:00pm – 10:00pm

To celebrate the launch of Melbourne International Games Week, Keywords Studios is hosting Loading Screen, a gathering for “game lovers, developers, and industry enthusiasts” at Fortress Melbourne – making it the perfect celebration to catch up with old friends, or make new ones to experience the 10th MIGW with. Tickets are available via Eventbrite, and include food, drinks, and entertainment.

Power-Up People: A Games Industry networking night for women and gender diverse people

Monday, 2 October 2023 6:00pm – 09:00pm

Keywords Studios Australia is hosting a networking night for women and gender-diverse people working in games at Meat Market South Wharf to cap off the first day of GCAP. The 18+ event is the perfect opportunity to meet others in the industry, but bookings are essential, so be sure to get in quick.

Big Games Night Out

Thursday, 5 October 5:00pm – 11:30pm

Creative Victoria has partnered with Fed Square to bring a free, all-ages event featuring live performances, tournaments, games swap meets and a cosplay parade and runway (hosted by Myf Warhurst and Montaigne). The event promises an immersive “games-themed wonderland” for attendees from all walks of life to celebrate games – and did we mention it’s free?

Mario King of Kart Tournament

Friday, 6 October 5:00pm – 10:00pm

If you’re a fan of getting competitive, the King of Kart tournament will pit 32 players against one another in Mario Kart Deluxe 8 at The Edge in Federation Square, with both bragging rights and a Nintendo Switch OLED console (plus some other prizes) on the line. You can register now for the chance to play, or if you’re not feeling up to putting your skills to the test, there’s classic arcade games such as Mario Kart and Daytona available for everyone to have a crack at.

ACMI’s Melbourne International Games Week Film Program

Sunday, 1 October to Tuesday, 3 October

ACMI is hosting three events over three consecutive nights in celebration of Melbourne International Games Week to explore how video games intersect with broader culture. The program starts with Summerfall Studios co-founders David Gaider, Elie Young and Liam Esler in conversation with Jini Maxwell to discuss the multimedia influences that shaped the studio’s debut game, Stray Gods. There’s also screenings of short films using footage from popular video games, and the screening of Computer Chess – tickets for all three nights are available now.

MIGW: Places To Eat and Drink

fortress melbourne film
Image: Fortress Melbourne

One Plus Piece

Melbourne Central & Balwyn

One Plus Piece is Melbourne’s “first anime-themed asian fusion burger Joint,” inspired by One Piece. There’s two locations – the flagship Balwyn cafe, as well as the Melbourne Central location (on the Lower Ground, right outside the train station). They’re serving up loaded shakes, sushi burgers, and classic burgers to keep you trucking throughout MIGW.

Fortress Melbourne

Emporium Melbourne / 23 Caledonian Lane, Melbourne

It wouldn’t be a guide to Melbourne during MIGW without mentioning Fortress, the huge multi-level complex dedicated to games culture. If you’ve not been to Fortress Melbourne (or the sister Sydney venue), this is a must-visit venue. There’s the fantasy tavern serving pub classics with board games and console games to play with groups (as well as regular events), as well as the more futuristic Alienware esports arena for events and a PC Gaming lounge if you’re keen to get stuck into some games alongside your parma and drink. 


Basement of 355 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Bartronica is a classic haunt for the Melbourne gaming scene, filled with vintage arcade machines as far as the eye can see as well as cocktails, craft beer and moody low lighting (reminiscent of my gaming cave at home, actually). Bartronica is open late for post-PAX hangouts, but can get pretty packed as the night wears on so be sure to get in early for a booth or table.

Robot Bar

12 Bligh Pl, Melbourne

If you’re looking to show your friends that you know all the secret, ‘hidden’ laneway bars and venues in Melbourne, Robot Bar is the perfect place. Located across the laneway from a great ramen and Japanese tapas joint (Mensosai Mugen), Robot Bar is a Japanese pop culture bar stocked with sake, Asian beers, cocktails, and Japanese bar foods. They also have anime playing on the screens throughout the venue, and host Anime Night on Tuesdays at 8pm – the perfect way to cap off the second day of GCAP or wind down after a big day at MIGW.

Marche Board Game Cafe

63 A’Beckett St, Melbourne 

Demolish a Taiwanese inspired menu while playing from a huge collection of board games (or getting stuck into some karaoke if you’re so inclined) at Marche Board Game Cafe, just a hop, skip, and jump from Melbourne Central. You can book for a three hour board game session (which also includes a drink from the menu) or get a private karaoke room, and to top it all off they also serve bubble tea – so there’s really a bit of something for everyone.

There’s plenty more to see and do during Melbourne International Games Week, and while the MIGW event lineup is already stacked as it is, we’ll continue to bring you updates of any extra must-see or do events as they’re announced. If it’s your first time attending PAX Aus (for the 10th PAX on our shores), we’ve also got a first timer’s guide so you can make the most of the expo.

What’re you hoping to catch this MIGW, and for Melbourne locals, what’s a must-visit for gamers coming to town?

Lead Image Credit: Melbourne International Games Week

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