Play Away Festival 2021

Scotland has an astonishing new videogames taking place in February 2021. The Play Away Festival 2021 is a fortnight’s festival of gaming from our friends at the Tinderbox Collective.

Play Away is taking a different approach to gaming. Videogames have an incredible amount to offer the world beyond their huge commercial success. Gaming is now influencing and inspiring designers and creators in other areas, while tools, technologies, and techniques from the videogames world are now being used in other industries, from film and screen, to finance, education, healthcare and performing arts.

Taking place from February 22 to March 5, Play Away can already boast world class line-up of speakers, panelists, participants, and performances, in what promises to be a packed programme.

Luci Holland, the festival director, told the Scottish Games Network:

Games are such an exciting artform with so much depth and possibilities – they use all sorts of creative formats and technologies, inviting people to collaborate, communicate and explore ideas, and always with a playful ethos. We hope this festival will showcase some of this variety and create
new connections and conversations with people from different sectors, including those who might not know much about games – yet!

Play Away Programme

Play Away Festival 2021. Prof Jane McGonigal.

The whole festival kicks off with a keynote from designer, developer and author Jane McGonigal. Jane is the Director of Game Research + Development at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California. She is the author of two New York Times bestselling books: Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World and SuperBetter: The Power of Living Gamefully. Her TED talks on how games can make a better world have more than 15 million views. She has advised companies including Disney, Mattel, Nintendo, Riot Games, Activision and EA on how to create games that build real skills and help players develop emotional and social strengths they can use in their everyday lives. She is also the inventor of SuperBetter, a game that has helped more than a million players recover from symptoms of depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and traumatic brain injury. 

The festival will end with a live online performance from Niamh Houston, aka the mighty Chipzel, the BAFTA-nominated chip tune musician and composer. Chipzel is the cretor of the soundtracks for a growing number of games including Super Hexagon, Interstellaria, and Dicey Dungeon. Her live sets are incredible – all the more so when you consider that her primary instruments are Gameboys.

In between, Play Away offers sessions exploring diverse topics including game design, mixed realities, gaming for health & wellbeing (chaired by your editor), games audio, empathy and online safety.

The organisers have pulled in expertise and insight from many of Scotland’s leading games creators, researcher and thinkers:

The pioneering Games Jobs Live will run a session on careers in gaming, with the team from Into Games, focusing on Traineeships, Internships and Graduate Schemes.

The lovely Scottish Game Developers Association (SGDA) is running a Virtual Play Party, live streaming some of their favourite games

The excellent Biome Collective’s James Morwood is hosting a workshop on zine-making

The experts from University of Glasgow’s Games & Gaming Lab will host a session looking at the state of play in games research

The truly epic Gabriel Elvery will host a session intrguingly called Beyond Parasocial Interaction: Speed Dating With Ghosts

A group of outrageously talented researchers, designers and creators, including Mona Bozdog and Yann Seznec will explore virtual and physical interaction in mixed realities.

There’s even more to come, with additional events taking place across the course of the festival, which will broaden and round out the programme even further.

You can find the whole programme, plus information on all of the speakers, panelists and performers over on Tinderboxes Play Away website (seriously, it’s superb. Top marks for design AND complete information. Other event organisers, take note…)

Pick Your Price Point

Each event is separately ticketed, so you may find yourself back and forth to EventBrite a few times, but trust us, it will be worth it. Despite being virtual, many of these sessions are likely to sell out, so we’d encourage you to sign up NOW.

While you CAN attend each event for free, Tinderbox relies upon contributions to stay alive. So each event allows contributions of £3, £5, as well as offering a pay-what-you-wish option, to encourage participants with deeper pockets to support the festival, the Tinderbox collective and the future of further games events in Scotland.

We’ll see you there.

Website: Play Away Festival 2021

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