The Games for Change Australia wrap up!

Executive Producer and Co-Lead Curator, Marigo Raftopoulos & Steffen P. Walz, Chair and Co-Lead Curator
Games for Change Australia / New Zealand (G4C ANZ), our newest international chapter, kicked off their first annual festival on November 15 and 16.

Attendees were greeted by the gorgeous and newly opened Design Hub at RMIT, Australia’s largest tertiary institution, which is located in the equally beautiful downtown area of Melbourne.

Hosted by RMIT, the license holders of the G4C ANZ brand, and The GEELab, this two day event partnered a smartly curated cast of speakers from game designers to gaming-centric lawyers, filmmakers, and educators with a host of play opportunities, which gave this down under version of the event a decidedly gameful twist.


Keynote speakers Keita Takahashi & Heather J. Kelley
The first day’s talks were highlighted by such notable names like Heather Kelley and her dynamic work with bringing artistic game design and interaction into public spaces, Jess McColluch’s dramatic performance as both herself and “Agent 55″, a character from the Chinese culture alternate reality game she was presenting, and Gabe Zichermann, one of gamification’s biggest proponents, closing the day with his direct wit and profanity-laden call to action to create real and relevant reasons to gamify environments for change.

The closing day was a mix of unique talks, such as the fitness-centric presentations exploring devices like the Joggobot, a flying drone that you chase to keep pace, and GoodGym, a social network that unites London’s runners with those who need able-bodied people for tasks. Although many would argue that the charming and insightful talk from game industry darling, Keita Takahashi from Katamari Damacy fame, was the high point of day two. A terrific version of his talk, including all his artwork, can be found here.

Punctuating this region’s unique take on games for social impact was a series of gameplay experiences that were peppered throughout the agenda. Between the talks and presentations and apart from the expected tea and snacks on offer, where invitations to enter into the massive and delightfully curated Game Arcade. And as attendees were greeted back to their seats, game master Stef Kuypers encouraged everyone to participate in games to loosen them up and interact with their neighbors, bringing a sense of unity through the use of simple and fun activities.

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Participants of one of the many play events at the Games for Change Festival Australia / New Zealand
In fact, a playful element was so much a part of the event, that attendees themselves were creating their own games to play with newly formed friends and unsuspecting attendees alike (one even gained its own Twitter account which was made during the Festival, @thespoongame).

The diverse set of speakers and playful tone of the first ever Games for Change Australia / New Zealand Festival was a fresh and inspiring experience. We’ll be sure to bring what we’ve learned to the 10th Annual Games for Change Festival in New York City in June 2013.

Congratulations to everyone who made the @G4C_ANZ Festival a massive success. We were thrilled to see the lively discussion on the #G4C_ANZ hashtag and we can’t wait to see what the Melbourne-based team comes up with next year.

You can learn more about the Games for Change Australia / New Zealand chapter on their official website.

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