Melbourne International Games Week 2021 reveals program with online and in-person events

Though PAX Aus and GCAP are taking their activities online this year, MIGW will still play host to a number of entertaining physical activities to celebrate video games.

Melbourne International Games Week, a significant event in the calendar of the Australian games industry, has revealed its program for 2021. Despite the shift to digital for two of its biggest attractions, Games Connect Asia Pacific 2021 (GCAP) and PAX Aus 2021 (now Pax Aus Online), there are still in-person activities to be hosted throughout the week. 

The news comes while most of Australia is still in some form of lockdown due to the latest Covid outbreak. However, there are a few outdoor activities, which use locations in and around Melbourne CBD for physical and augmented reality games, like Eastern Market Murder. They suggest that organisers are optimistic of at least some restrictions being eased. 

Some of the significant industry events at MIGW 2021 include:

  • Games Connect Asia Pacific (4-6 October 2021)
    The annual conference will once again feature a variety of talks and workshops from industry professionals situated in both the local and international industries, for the benefit of developers in the region. This year’s GCAP will also feature specialised events for emerging developers, those looking for investment opportunities, and a congress to connect to all levels of government staff. 
  • PAX Aus Online (8-10 October 2021)
    The big consumer-facing convention recently pivoted to a digital-only format, as it did in 2020, and will play host to online versions of many of the show’s attractions such as panels, game showcases, and community events.
  • The Australian Game Developer Awards (6 October 2021, 7:00pm – 10:00pm)
    The awards, which celebrate the achievements of the local sector over the past year, are currently slated to be an in-person event taking place at Fortress Melbourne. But, they’ll livestreamed too, naturally. 
  • Melbourne Queer Games Festival (6 October 2021, 7:00pm – 9:00pm)
    Now in its fourth year, the event is designed to celebrate the work being done internationally by queer game creators, complete with an awards ceremony and recognition of a significant emerging developer.
  • Games for Change Asia Pacific (7 October 2021)
    An international movement that will launch in the APAC region for the first time this year, Games for Change is an event that showcases work being done in the game space to support and draw attention to social issues, education, health, and other such things. It will be both a digital and physical event, with workshops taking place at ACMI and RMIT
  • Freeplay Parallels (7 October 2021, 7:00pm – 9:00pm)
    An must-see showcase of the best independent games currently being developed in the country, Parallels is a great event to get an early sneak peek of the next Australian game that may take the world by storm.

In-person activities at MIGW 2021 that caught our attention include:

  • Dog Friendly Detective Day (2 October 2021 9:00am – 10:00pm)
    This event appears to be an invitation for people to get outside and experience Easter Market Murder, an augmented-reality mobile game that uses real-world Melbourne CBD locations to tell a historical true-crime narrative. The game’s first location is Melbourne Town Hall, takes you through numerous heritage locations and laneways, and ends at the Punch Lane Wine Bar, where the developers will be there to award prizes for best-dressed detectives. 
  • Fed Square King of Kart Tournament (7 October 2021 6:00pm -10:00pm)
    Fed Square’s enormous screen is no stranger to having videogames played on it, and as part of MIGW, there will be a physical Mario Kart 8 tournament. Entry is free, but registration is essential. Qualifying rounds take place from 4-6 October during the evenings, with the final to take place on 7 October. The skill level is bound to be high.

In a statement, the Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said that: ‘Melbourne International Games Week is an incredible celebration of innovation, creativity and fun – further cementing Victoria’s position as the heart of Australia’s thriving games industry.’

‘We are proud to support our digital games sector, with $120.7 million in new funding toward our ground-breaking VICSCREEN strategy which is set to bring even more opportunities for this growing industry’

The full program can be found on the MIGW website.

Edmond was the founding managing editor of GamesHub. He was also previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran