In addition to hosting an array of gaming events, 2013 was also a year that saw a number of Perth games charge onto the stage and make their mark on the world. This year saw titles for just about every console (plus a couple for no console at all!), a number of nominations, some special awards, a new studio, game developer grants and even some special community events.
Nominations for WA’s Best
In 2013 we saw a wide variety of homegrown games vying for the title of ‘Best Game’ in the WA Screen Awards. The games nominated for the prestigious award were Orbeats (iOS) WRK Studios, Square Off (Win7) by Gnomic Studios, deviator (ARG) by the PVI Collective, and Freedom Fall (PC) by Stirfire Studios. Who won? Well, if you’re not familiar with the results of the award ceremony then you will find out further down this article…
A Different Form of Footy Game
The first game out the gates for 2013 was that of FootyBoss. Released in March by Different Methods, this title provided a sporting experience for the Australian gamer in the form of an in-browser Aussie Rules team manager simulator.
Deviator takes to Streets
March also saw the WA premiere of the Augmented Reality Game ‘deviator’ by the PVI Collective. This real-world game saw the streets of Perth became a playground for those playing via their mobiles for a full week.
Two titles from Entropic Entertainment
Entropic Entertainment released not one, but two games this year, starting with the tale of Tankya’s Adventure: The Curse of Zoltar which hit Desura in March. In October the studio’s next adventurous title Brave Kingdom came out swinging on Android, just days after the WA Games Showcase.
SK Games set up Shop
In June we same the new game development studio SK Games set up camp. Headed by Louis Roots, an ECU graduate who had been working in the game dev industry overseas for the past couple of years, the studio has since produced an array of group games that have amused an entertained at local events.
Freedom Fall hits the ground running
Moving on to July we saw Stirfire Studio‘s highly anticipated title Freedom Fall launch at the first ever PAX AUS. Yes, it was this game that won the coveted crown of Best Game at the WA Screen Awards - not to mention it was also a finalist for both the Best Design and Game of the Year categories at the Australian Game Developers Awards. Freedom Fall has since been Greenlit on Steam, so an updated version is currently in the works.
A second release at the PAX convention, DrewFX released the card game, Solitarium. DrewFX showcased at the Indie Showcase at the huge, Melbourne-based convention. This fantasy solitaire game is available to purchase from the Solitarium website.
Blitz Bandits breaks out the Beta
July also brought about beta access for the retro-inspired brawler Blitz Bandits. The game by Blake Simpson is receiving rave reviews, and we are told that Mac OSx and Linux versions are on the horizon.
Freeplay Awards then Halflings hit the Stores
September saw Handwritten Games (and LMG’s very own Anthony Sweet) win a Freeplay Award for the free print-and-play card puzzle Outside These Walls. Then, not being the kind of folk who rest on their laurels, in October Handwritten Games’ half-sized heroes were set loose as the boardgame Halfling Heist (also a finalist in the Freeplay Awards) was made available on The Game Crafter.
Four from Perth get GCAP Assist
Each year Screen Australia offer assistance packages to game developers across the country, to support attendance to the Game Connect Asia Pacific conference. Among the 21 developers awarded GCAP Assist grants in 2013, there were 4 WA representatives; Lisa Rye (Freedom Fall), Blake Simpson (Blitz Bandits), Anthony Sweet (Handwritten Games) and Jess Watson (Esperino).
The GCAP Assist crew joined a number of other Perth developers invading the Melbourne Conference, including the likes of WA development studio (and GCAP Indie Sponsor) Black Lab Games.
Square Off now on new Platforms
As we reached November we saw Gnomic Studios‘ killer cubes make their way onto just about every handheld device (and then some). Previously released on XBLA, Square Off has now blasted it’s way onto Android, iOS, Windows Phone and OUYA.
Ending on a high note with Euphoria HD
And last on the list of Perth games for 2013, but by no means least, the year ended with the intriguing sounds and curious content of Eufloria HD. Developed by Titanium Studios, the title made it’s way onto the PS Vita via the Playstation Store just in time for Christmas.
But wait, there’s more!
As well as there having been many a game and award for WA across the year, the end of 2013 also saw a surge in the number of opportunities for the Perth community to play some homegrown games. First there was the invasion of the underground malls at GameCloud and GameCity’s Indie Day, then gamers, families and various fine folk braved the heat to play some brilliant games on the big screen at FTI’s Pop-Up Arcade.
All in all there was a lot going on in the world of WA game development. Each year we seem to be getting bigger and better, while the future of our games industry just keeps looking brighter. We had a great time with you all last year and are looking forward to even more fun.
So bring on 2014!!