This year’s PAX Aus has highlighted the importance of representation in gaming with an exhibit showcasing a selection of games developed by some of those most underrepresented in the gaming industry.
The exhibit itself is called NEXT, hosted by Big Ant Studios, and features games that aim to explore some of society’s important issues such as: mental health, autism, serious illness, LGBTIQA+ representation, and culture.
With almost 100 applications submitted for the exhibit, it was a difficult job for judges to only select a small amount to put on show.
The NEXT Exhibit, in total features six games from all around the world and is said to embody the “spirit of the many powerful, inventive and charming games and creators that NEXT seeks to highlight.”
These six NEXT games were on show at the Indie Rising area during this weekend’s PAX AUS:
An Aspie Life by Bradley Hennessey
A game which started its development in Bradley’s 45 minute lunch breaks at school, An Aspie Life is described as an experimental adventure game which places players in the shoes of a person with autism. The mechanics of the game are intended to represent “everyday autistic traits” and players will experience the daily life of someone with autism in an insightful way, seeing both its ups and downs.
Anamorphine by Artifact 5
As an exploration into the effects of PTSD and loss, Anamorphine is a game told without dialogue or an action button. The game relies on a narrative that puts players in a position where they must choose whether to confront their past or move on into the future.
Before I Forget by 3-Fold Games
Created by an all-woman team of UK developers, Before I Forget follows Sunita – a woman with dementia. The game explores the reality for many dementia suffers,which is that life is often full of confusion and anxiety when you cannot understand memories, or where you are at one moment. Before I Forget was made with the intention of bringing light and awareness to serious illness.
Boyfriend Dungeon by Kitfox Games
Move over pigeons and daddies because you can now date weapons in Boyfriend Dungeon. What begun as a Kickstarter in 2018, this “shack-and-slash” action-RPG dungeon crawling adventure mixes two different game genres to create a game that is inclusive of male, female, and non-binary.
Florescer by Pugcorn
Florescer was developed by a Brazilian team of students focused on creating positive social impact through their work. The aim of the game is to help players empathise with the experiences of trans people in today’s society. With the game’s perspective focusing on a teenage transgender girl named Bia, players will be presented with the hardships and prejudice that that Bia must deal with in her daily life.
She and the Light Bearer by Mojiken Studio, Toge Productions and Pathetic Experience
From a combination of teams across Indonesia, lead by creator Brigitta Rena, She and the Light Bearer is a point and click adventure game which focuses on the preservation of Indonesia folktales. Particular inspiration is drawn from the traditional tale about Mother Earth – called Ibu Pertiwi. Creator Brigitta Rena’s Javanese upbringing made her face a number of patriarchal values which pushed against her goals in the games industry but She and the Light Bearer is a project that Brigitta hopes will help women in Indonesia pursue careers in game development unhindered.
To keep up-to-date with the latest from NEXT Exhibit make sure to follow them @ExhibitNext.