Film critic Roger Ebert famously said that ‘for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.’ Yet art museums have been exhibiting video games for almost thirty years, and the majority of Australian households – and almost all families with children – are playing them. Video games aren’t leaving.
So, what’s the appeal? What do video games contribute to storytelling, stress-relief and society?
As part of Freeplay 2015, we’ll explore the prevailing issues and opportunities of game culture. Speakers Lawrence Leung, Vanessa Toholka, Scott Edgar and Leena van Deventer will talk about inclusivity and diversity amongst both players and developers, the influence of technologies like augmented reality and human motion sensing, criticisms of the industry and the industry’s relationship to its critics. They’ll reveal ways in which concepts born in games are finding their way into our everyday lives through so-called ‘gamification’.
Stretch your thumbs, pull up a seat and press ‘start’ to find out what’s next for the medium that operates at the perimeters of technology, art and innovation.
Lawrence is an award winning stand-up comedian, screenwriter and documentary-maker. He created the ABC1 comedy shows Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable and the AFI Award-nominated Choose Your Own Adventure and co-wrote and starred in ABC2's action/comedy series Maximum Choppage. Recently, he wrote an episode of The Family Law (SBS2) and played a sleazy nerd in Jane Campion's Top of the Lake.
Vanessa Toholka is a knowledge management consultant, with over fourteen years experience working in online content and strategy. She specialises in research and development, producing digital applications for the education, media and legal industries.
Leena van Deventer is a writer, game developer, and educator from Melbourne. In 2013 she co-founded WiDGET, a support group for women and non-binary game developers with over 800 members. In 2016 she co-authored Game Changers: From Minecraft to Misogyny, the fight for the future of videogames for Affirm Press with Dr. Dan Golding.
Scott Edgar has been peddling comedy music on radio, television and stage for twenty years with his compadres in Melbourne group Tripod.
Tripod are deep in preparation for the premiere of their love letter to gaming and gamers, symphonic opus This Gaming Life, orchestrated and conducted by Tripod’s new bestie Austin Wintory (BAFTA-winning composer of Journey and the Banner Saga), to be performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra on April 17 and 18 at Hamer Hall.
Scott has nursed a love of games since he first opened a copy of the Dungeons and Dragons module, Keep on the Borderlands. Then, when computers were invented? Forget about it.