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PAXAus Indies shine in lavish showcase

Much of the show floor at this year’s PAXAus festival has been given over to independent developers of video games.  Here we can see the talent and ideas behind future directions in gaming.  With nary a sequel number in sight, some of these games will be in our living rooms in the not too distant future and PAXAus is doing its best to put these games in our face.

“if this doesn’t work, nothing will” says Tony Reed, CEO of The Game Developers Association of Australia as he surveys the impressive booths set up to show case Australian talent in the independent games development field.

He is correct; last night there was a VIP drinks occasion that highlighted the video game industry in Australia with a focus on Melbourne developers.  Scattered amongst the journalists, politicians and PR folks were plenty of fresh faced (and some not so fresh faced) passionate indie game developers.

And they had plenty of impressive wares on show; however, it is here at PAXAus where those same passionate developers will get to describe their games non-stop to thousands of rabid fans and consumers.

The Booth set up for the Indie Showcase here at PAXAus is very impressive; each title has a booth and 3 metre high graphic that highlights visually the game on show.  It is attractive and professional and makes people like Tony Reed very happy to see.

Likewise at the nearby QANTM College booth, where students focus on game development amongst other digital era qualifications, spirits are high.  The team there point me towards a game called Wonder, by a group that is attempting to hit a world full of Call Of Duty shoot-em-ups with a game about exploring and cooperative discovery.  

It worked for MineCraft, it ought to work for Wonder.  And the team is going cutting edge, with a version of the game using the Oculus Rift, the new version of 3D virtual reality that may well be the future of video gaming.

There are many more indies to be sampled, all with enthusiastic presenters.  So far we have spent time with Deckwar -Real time strategy and collectible card game, Fractured Soul – a 2D platformer presented in two halves where the player can shift his corporeal form between each screen half at will to battle opponents and solve puzzles and ColourBlind - a Sound Shapes like puzzle game involving mind-bending manipulation of gravity and colour.

There are plenty more games to be sampled, Freedom Fall is a delightful new tower-falling platform game from a new developer(Stirfire Studios) and this sits comfortably beside Anti-Chamber the now-famous psychedelic M.C Escher experience from the mind of Alexander Bruce.

Whilst Anti-Chamber has proven to be successful, many on the show floor are just on the verge of trying to garner an audience.  Right now, at PAXAus they have their best shot.


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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.