Apple announced the winners of the 2021 Apple Design Awards overnight as part of the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), with one award going to HoloVista by San Francisco studio Aconite–a distributed team whose membership includes Melbourne-based Meredith Hall.
An augmented reality (AR) game released in 2020 about exploring a dreamlike mansion and uncovering its mysteries, HoloVista received an Apple Design Award for Inclusivity, a category Apple describes as providing a ‘great experience for all by supporting people from a diversity of backgrounds, abilities, and languages.’ Along with the award, Apple praised the AR game for its high level of accessibility.
‘HoloVista supports a wide variety of accessibility features, including options for motion control, text sizes, text contrast, sound, and visual effect intensity,’ Apple’s award listing read. ‘Purposeful interactions and considerations help achieve gameplay that can be experienced and perceived in more than one way.’
Hall, who is based in Melbourne as Film Victoria’s Games and Digital Content Coordinator, also worked with Aconite as HoloVista’s Lead Producer and Director of Communications, and said the team was ‘floored and humbled’ by Apple’s recognition.
‘It was so important to all of us to create something that made people feel seen and heard and supported,’ Hall told ScreenHub via Twitter. ‘There’s so much we can do as creators for our audiences to feel included and the work is so worth it if it means even one more person can play or enjoy a game they otherwise wouldn’t have.’
‘To then go on to be recognised for that work is beyond our wildest dreams. We’re so grateful to all our players, supporters, and friends in and outside of the industry–it really does take a village to ship a game, and we wouldn’t be here without the support of so many incredible people.’
‘There’s so much we can do as creators for our audiences to feel included and the work is so worth it if it means even one more person can play or enjoy a game they otherwise wouldn’t have.’
Australian team SMG Studio was among the Apple Design Award nominees for Apple Arcade game Sp!ng for the Interaction category, with the award going to CARROT Weather and Bird Alone—an app some might need a warning for before installing.
Games for Apple’s subscription service Apple Arcade were represented strongly, with Apple Design Awards going to Little Orpheus from English studio The Chinese Room, and Alba: A Wildlife Adventure by Monument Valley developers Ustwo Games. Other games recognised included League of Legends: Wild Rift, the mobile spin-off of the popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) on PC, and open-world action-RPG Genshin Impact–which was also crowned best mobile game across iOS and Android last year.
All the Apple Design Award winners are as follows:
• Voice Dream Reader (Voice Dream LLC)
• HoloVista (Aconite)
Delight and Fun:
• Pok Pok Playroom (Pok Pok)
• Little Orpheus (The Chinese Room)
• CARROT Weather (Brian Mueller, Grailr LLC)
• Bird Alone (George Batchelor)
• Be My Eyes (S/I Be My Eyes)
• Alba: A Wildlife Adventure (Ustwo Games)
Visuals and Graphics:
• Loóna (Loóna Inc)
• Genshin Impact (MiHoYo Limited)
• NaadSadhana (Sandeep Ranade)
• League of Legends: Wild Rift (Riot Games)