Playfulness, Curiosity and Joy @ Parallels ’23

Playfulness, Curiosity and Joy @ Parallels ’23

Parallels proudly claims to be “Everyone’s favourite night of the year”—and they’re not wrong

The annual indie showcase is presented and run by Freeplay Independent Games Festival, who have been bringing the local independent games community together and championing grassroots experimental games since 2004.

Reflecting the local industry’s vibrant growth, Parallels has become bigger and bigger. This year, Freeplay co-presented the event with ACMI to an audience of more than 350 people in ACMI’s Cinema 1.

Parallels ’23 was hosted by Freeplay’s co-directors Mads Mackenzie and Louie Roots, who brought together a suite of impressive experimental and expressive projects.

Iris Anstey shared her imaginative forest paintings for the first time in public and spoke on how her artistic skills and enthusiasm for forests shapes her unconventional approach to atmospheric game design.

This year, Andrew Brophy returned as a special guest to Parallels to share more on upcoming RPG mystery game Knuckle Sandwich, which he presented on back in 2015. After years of development, Brophy candidly and with humour reflected on the trials of his ambitious project, before triumphantly announcing the game’s release date: November 23rd, 2023!

A standout among standouts, Ally McLean Hennessy gave a memorably savage live tarot reading to the entire audience, surprising attendees with a keepsake tarot card under each of their seats. This was an inventive way to communicate the core themes behind Lemonade Games’ upcoming Mystiques: Haunted Antiques, which embraces the subversive pleasures of being an insufferable woman.

See below for a full list of presenters.

The Freeplay team also put together an interactive installation of small games created by showcase alumni and displayed in custom-made neo-arcade cabinets. The Parallel Exhibit was free to play at ACMI during MIGW and was also featured at Sydney’s SXSW in October.

This year, the much-anticipated return of the Freeplay Awards was also announced. The awards recognise excellence across a variety of categories for indie games made in Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania.

Parallels ’23 Presenters were

Iris Anstey – Moss Island

Ben Koder – Beyond the Lens

Andrew Brophy – Knuckle Sandwich

Chloe Kilroy and Billy Dent – Bell’s Beach

Pete Foley and Scott Ford (Fuzzy Ghost) – Janet DeMornay Is a Slumlord (and a Witch)

Jacob Janerka – The Dungeon Experience

Jessie Scott – Video Shop Algorithm

Ally McLean Hennessy – Mystiques: Haunted Antiques

Cain Maddox – Proximate