When it comes to the Australian game development scene, all eyes typically veer towards Melbourne, as we talk about artful and experimental games. However, a collective called Serenade has been working to highlight the Sydney and New South Wales art game scene for a couple of years now, inspired by the party-like events put on by the Freeplay Independent Games Festival and Hovergarden.
Serenade is now bringing NSW art games to Melbourne in a one-night-only event at the Sabattical Gallery in Collingwood, to be held on 17 February 2023. Entry is free, and the night will feature music by DJ Kaveh Tabar (who is also a game dev), and drinks.
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Duncan Corrigan, one of the five organisers of Serenade, told GamesHub that an experimental game development scene certainly exists in Sydney, but it simply does not have as much support as it does in places like Melbourne.
However, Corrigan says ‘there are a few initiatives starting in Sydney to try to bring these creatives together, and make them feel part of a great community of weird game makers.’ Events like the one at Sabattical Gallery will also hopefully raise awareness within Australia’s game development community.
The Serenade event at Sabbatical Gallery will feature five games from developers Daniel Linssen, Callum Denmead, Fenreliania, Oscar Newsome, and the AGDA Award-winning Fuzzy Ghost. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s on show.
Janet DeMornay Is A Slumlord (and a witch) – Fuzzy Ghost
This is the new game from Fuzzy Ghost, developers of Queer Man Peering Into A Rock Pool.jpg, which won an Australian Game Developer Award for Excellence In Emerging Games.
Janet DeMornay Is A Slumlord (and a witch) is described as a horror-comedy game about the experience of living in rental sharehouses, set in Sydney’s inner-city suburbs.
Serenade will be the first public showing of the game, which recently received funding from Screen Australia. Fuzzy Ghost is also currently soliciting rental horror stories for inspiration.
Wibble Wobble – Daniel Linssen
The four-player local multiplayer version of Daniel Linssen’s Wibble Wobble will also be shown, a chaotic game where players scramble to collect stars, and boost their score in a treacherous environment.
For those who can’t make it to Serenade’s Sabbatical Gallery event, the game is available on Linssen’s Itch.io page in both multiplayer and single-player formats – but nothing beats a good local multiplayer game at an event like this.
Baldwin’s Bear – Oscar Newsome
A child-like (and perhaps somewhat horrific) collection of carnival minigames, Baldwin’s Bear follows a 6-year-old girl’s quest to earn enough tickets at a carnival, to trade for the titular bear.
The visual style is amusingly intriguing, and Baldwin’s Bear is available now on Steam for any curious readers outside of Melbourne.
Resonant – Callum Denmead
A stunning open-world rhythm exploration game, Resonant looks to draw you into a world that ‘breathes with sound’ and lets you ‘[choose] your musical path to discover all that the landscape has to reveal’. Incredibly attractive, cel-shaded landscapes house puzzles in an experience that reminds us of The Witness.
Resonant is currently available to wishlist on Steam.
Rites and Rituals Volume 1 – Fenreliania
A tabletop role-playing aide designed by Fenreliania, featuring illustrations by blistered/rei, Rites and Rituals Volume 1 features a small variety of eight spells, which include instructions, as well as a glossary for a variety of fictional elements like creatures, plants, and consumables.
It’s designed to ‘help spice up tabletop settings,’ according to the description, and provide some inspiration to anyone interesting in running a tabletop campaign.
It’s currently available via Fenreliania’s Itch.io page.
Serenade’s event will kick off at the Sabattical Gallery in Collingwood, Victoria beginning at 6:00pm AEDT on 17 February 2023. Entry is free.