Under the theme of 'Chaos and Grace', the festival focuses on local and international independent video game developers and their work. This year, Freeplay will run for an extended five day program that is set to include events such as conference sessions, an awards night, developer programs, a large free-to-play arcade and loads of opportunities to discuss and dissect aspects of the industry with some of its most significant leaders.
Festival Director Paul Callaghan says it is this kind of discussion that makes Freeplay such an important event. “When people talk about video games, what they seem to end up talking about is how many units Flight Control sold, or what the next like Fruit Ninja game’s going to look like,” he said. “But less frequently they talk about the process of making them, or the art behind making a game. So Freeplay is very much about that.” This year's biggest addition to the festival is a new conference series at the State Library that looks at how video games interact with other art forms. The sessions will address video games alongside music, architecture, literature and theatre.
“It's about art, it's about expression, it's about why people make things rather than how they sell things,” said Callaghan. “There are a lot of events about industry, there are a lot of events about audiences, but there aren't a lot of events about why we make things and how we make things better... and I think that games as an art form, games as a creative industry need that space.”
Check out the Freeplay website for a full list of speakers and events, or head to the State Library over the festival weekend to try your hand at the Freeplay arcade.