On Sunday 4 October, Australian households are encouraged to grab their favourite board game, explore roleplaying games or enjoy some of the incredible Victorian-made digital games for Big Games Night In.
Whether it’s a game of old school Monopoly, strategising for the island of Catan, paying off your debt in Animal Crossing or controlling a bothersome goose in Untitled Goose Game, games of all kinds have been a saviour for many Australians during lockdown. MIGW’s ‘Big Games Night In’ will be a night to connect with family and friends over a tabletop, role playing or digital game, to celebrate our game-makers and support a thriving local industry.
Globally and locally, digital, tabletop and roleplaying games have not only survived but thrived over the past year and COVID-19 has seen a surge in demand for games as people seek new sources of entertainment and connection while in lockdown. Digital games have experienced an increase in popularity during the pandemic, with more than 1.2 million Australians turning to digital games for entertainment and social connection.
ACMI, Australia’s museum of screen culture, will partner the Big Games Night In, offering a curated, free-to-access space for people of all ages to enjoy digital games by Victorian game developers.
In this online space, visitors will experience new and exciting (even beautiful) games available for families, teens, avid gamers and new gamers alike. The games, created by some of the most talented developers in Victoria, have been carefully selected by ACMI and include Innchanted (Dragonbear), Necrobarista (by Route 59), Wayward Strand (Ghost Pattern), Touch Melbourne & Rotational Shift (Andrew Gleeson), Terracotta & Dollhouse (Olivia Haines), Home & Under a Star Called Sun & Endless Scroll (by Cecile Richard), The Fish Market & The Journey to the Party (Grace Bruxner) and Intergalactic Space Princess (Geeiz).
Digital games continue to be the largest entertainment market globally, worth $250 billion, more than the movie and music industries combined. Australia’s games industry appears to be faring well despite the economic impact of the pandemic. 2019/20 was a significant year for the Victorian digital games industry with the global success of Victorian-made Untitled Goose Game, and recently released local games Moving Out and Necrobarista both making waves in Australia and internationally.
Traditional tabletop games have experienced a resurgence over the past few years but their popularity during lockdown has seen sales skyrocket. Melissa Rogerson, Lecturer at the University of Melbourne, has researched hobbyists and their engagement with board games and has observed that there are four main reasons why people love playing games: Variety - there is no shortage of games and types of games. Materiality - the touch and feel of pieces and the intellectual challenge, it’s not like watching television, you are engaged, involved and thinking all the time. Finally, sociality - game-playing is a way to connect with and spend time with people, especially during a pandemic. “It’s fantastic just to spend time playing games and I am looking forward to seeing people across the table whether over a wooden table or online,” she says.
Tabletop Roleplaying Games
If you fancy really stepping into character, then Tabletop Roleplaying Games (TTRPG) such as Dungeons and Dragons and Call of Cthulhu could be for you. TTRPGs may have been around since the 1970s but their popularity and accessibility has recently exploded due to people playing online. Rather than physically sitting around a table, friends can play online via Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom, or on dedicated virtual tabletops such as Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and Astral Tabletop. All these platforms allow you and your friends to enjoy tabletop roleplaying games without having to be in the same location (or even the same time zone).
Don't forget to share your fun on social using #MIGW20 #BGNI.