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iFEST Melbourne 2013: An indie games festival

Carene Chong

Thu Oct 10 2013


ASPIRING game designers and game enthusiasts take note. Leading international independent games festival iFEST is descending upon Melbourne again this year, and will be bigger and better, and free for everyone. Carene Chong tells you just how much bigger and better.

What do household games like Minecraft and World of Goo have in common? They started off as independent games before the public caught on and they went mainstream.

Premier independent (or indie) games festival iFEST aims to provide a platform for aspiring game designers and developers to come together and celebrate the indie games scene, and possibly initiate the next Minecraft or Limbo.

The festival is organised and supported by the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE), an Australian based game design institution with campuses in Australia and the USA.

Following two successful stops in Australia and one in the USA earlier this year, the event will be at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne on October 12.

iFEST Melbourne 2013 co-ordinator and AIE senior educator Jonathan Strugnell hopes the event will attract start-up companies and individuals who have the potential to create gaming history.

“It is for anybody who thinks they have what it takes to design, imagine, build and market games,” he said.

The event is not only open to designers, but also people interested in seeing what goes into making a game, or enthusiasts keen on having a go at the games available for play on the day.

Indie start-up Considerable Content’s Postman’s Odyssey is among the games on exhibit.

“Because they are small and independent, and because they don’t have a big studio behind them, their games are very innovative and different,” Jonathan said.

More than 20 games have been registered for display at the event and more are expected before the end of the week.

Gamers can embark on prehistorical sprinting and dinosaur dodging adventures, or assist the Grim Reaper in collecting souls.

Other than the games, a full day of information sessions and talks by prominent industry figures such as Chad Chatterton – Lead Environment Artist at Ubisoft’s The Division – is in store.

Topics include crowd funding, government funding, breaking into the industry and game publishing.

At the end of the day, awards will be given out to the most outstanding and well-received games on display.

iFEST Melbourne 2013 will take place at the State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St on October 12 from 10.00am to 4.30pm. Entry is free. For more information about the event, including program details and how to register for the event, visit the iFEST Melbourne program page.