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Play by Play

The game industry’s newest conference event, Play by Play, ran last week in Wellington, closing on the weekend with an awards ceremony.

The Overall award was taken by Dry Cactus’ bridge-building game Poly Bridge, which also took the Design gong. Poly Bridge creator Patrick Corrieri presented a session about the use of social media to grow a community.

Players can record the last 10 seconds of gameplay and post them as an animated gif to social media sites. Courtesy of this functionality, Poly Bridge achieved a lot of popularity last year on reddit gaming, where people posted their successes and failures.

The serial podium visitor, however, was Christchurch-based Digital Confectioners’ Depth (pictured, top), which took three awards: Excellence in Audio, Innovation, plus the Audience Choice award.

Depth (essentially playing Jaws) allows players to be a diver or a shark. Its asymmetric design successfully mitigates the inherent inequality of a man vs shark encounter.

While September’s Auckland-hosted NZ Game Developers Conference is focused on game development and production, Play by Play took a broader look at games. Organised by Media Design School’s Lucy Morris and Dinosaur Polo Club’s Peter and Robert Curry, the conference featured sessions on diversity and play as well as development topics.

The event was accompanied by a week-long exhibition at which the award finalists games were on display and playable, and developers offered workshops for school students.

Poly Bridge

Patrick Corrieri’s Poly Bridge

The winners of the inaugural Play by Play awards were:

Outstanding Overall
supported by the New Zealand Game Developers Association
Poly Bridge

Excellence in Audio
Depth

Excellence in Art
Element

Excellence in Design
Poly Bridge

Excellence in Innovation
supported by Playtech
Depth

Excellence in Representation
Audio Game Hub

Student Award
supported by ACG Yoobee School of Design
Split

Audience Choice
Depth

‘Across The Ditch’ Award
Armello