Kate Raynes-Goldie of Atmosphere Industries created Play Up Perth in 2013 with the aim of supporting new experimental games in WA, and joined with FTI in 2014 to further support this venture. Each month, an event is held to give two developers time for playtesting, feedback, as well as a discussion session aimed at providing the developer with ideas and suggestions for improving their game. These small groups are not necessarily just for video game designers requiring playtesters, but also for any creator with a game to present.

Most recently, Play Up was held at the state library of WA on Saturday June 7 and hosted by Kate Raynes-Goldie. The move from Fremantle to a more central location has made it more accessible for those wanting to be involved in the sessions. While only a small amount of free tickets are allocated, it is necessary to keep numbers more intimate to allow more fruitful discussions and feedback periods.

The three-hour session was divided to allow equal time for both game presenters. While at GameCloud we also love to see local creative works making headway into becoming a profitable venture, I will be focusing this write-up on the video game that was tested as that is our focus area. Part of Play Up was devoted to the demonstration of BOK; a physical badminton-esque game with several fun ideas to work on and improve. The discussion time offered many suggestions for Claude and we hope to see his progress in the near future. If you’d like to learn more please visit the official site at bokmaster.com.

Play Up’s other presenter was Wendy White, who built a prototype of her adventure game entitled Underwater Story. Wendy gave us a brief introduction and shared her life-long love of pick-a-path books and how she was inspired by the way they use narrative. Underwater story may have only been a custom built prototype just for the purposes of Play Up but the direction and overall feel had a very clear idea of where it was going. Wendy has been working with an artist to create a magical undersea setting that will offer a plethora of choices and areas to discover. For our first-glimpse play through the group experienced a sense of the proposed narrative and enjoyed some truly colourful characters. As each person played on their own Mac, it was interesting to see that most of us had come to different conclusions following our conflicting decisions during the sample play through.

What followed was my first experience sitting in for a feedback discussion with a developer, and it was an oddly productive chat. Play Up’s Kate expertly guided the group through asking questions and providing suggestions for later progressions of underwater Story. Hearing Wendy take much of what was discussed on board, as well as openly answering everything she could, was a rewarding two-way exchange for everyone present. I don’t want to give too much away about her game-in-progress, but I really think she’ll blow us away with a kooky, witty and surprising game somewhere down the track. If you’d like to keep an eye on Underwater Story as it comes together keep checking talesfromelectriceve.com for details.

If you’d like to take part in an upcoming Play Up held on July 25th as an after-dark event then book your free tickets through the Play Up website at playupperth.org. We’re looking forward to working with Play Up to share with Perth all the exciting local developments, stay tuned for our review next month!

Bernadette Russell
Bernadette is living her childhood dream as a freelance writer in Geraldton, WA. With a life-long console habit and a self-imposed MMO ban, she fantasizes about the day when all she'll have to do is game and write. Oh, and also about meeting Link. HYAH!
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