The Queensland Games Festival (formally known as Game On/GO 423) is the biggest celebration of games made right here, in sunny Queensland. Held on the 22nd of July at the Brisbane Powerhouse, this year Zed Games got to witness more games, more developers, more teams, and more interest in this wonderful event.
Our role? To host the Game Dev Hot Seat throughout the day, interviewing devs live on stage so that they may tell us all about their projects. With a massive variety of games, from narrative to first person shooters, to VR games to board games, and games that blend the borders between them all, at this year’s Queensland Games Festival we got to see it all! And after a long day of gaming, it was a tonne of fun to wrap up with an End Game session, with notable figures in the games industry duking it out against the game-master (with a bit of help from the audience!).
On top of that there were also a number of workshops, and discussions, such as the Emerging Developers Room, for those taking their first steps into the industry, and Gameloft Creative Kids, where children had the chance to meet the artists behind My Little Pony, and create some art of their own.
Missed out? Want to know what was shown? Got there and had so much fun and want to check out the games? Here you go:
Afternoon Zed Gamers, time to plug your ears with the vibrating pressure of the weekly podcast headed by Maylee, and accompanied by Zahra, Hazel and a secret being. This week the team talks lost games in Gaming News, Zahra takes time out for self care in a review of Amaru: The Self-care Virtual Pet. Maylee then brings the magic with a review of the boardgame Flamecraft.
World of Warcraft Player Maxed Out Without Playing
World of Warcraft players, and those who tried to become a WoW player, are probably familiar with the tutorial boat that takes players to the starter zone. And yet, despite there being absolutely no quests, enemies, or even resources to harvest on the boat, a player has managed to level up their character to the recently increased level 70. How?
Cheatcho has a number of account-wide pet battle quests, meaning that they can be done on separate characters, while allowing Cheatcho to redeem the quest rewards on a completely different character, namely the one on the ship. Apparently if you have a level 25 Chrominius pet on your account, you can use an ability called arcane explosion that can wipe out the quest giver’s pets quickly.
This method took 200 days to achieve max level.
Xbox is now Aware (of carbon)
A new Xbox firmware update brings changes to power management, where every Xbox console defaults to energy-saving mode, reducing console power consumption when the console is off. This change won’t affect performance or how updates install, but you won’t be able to remotely wake your console, and it boots up a little more slowly. It is optional, and players can opt for ‘Instant On’, although this uses up more energy.
In addition, your Xbox can schedule game, app, and OS updates at specific times to help reduce carbon emissions, by connecting to the internet and using the available regional carbon intensity data.
You can also hide game art when choosing tiles for the home page, letting you change game art to blocks of solid colour, helpful if you find yourself overwhelmed with visuals.
Massive Trans Witch Games Bundle
In response to Hogwarts Legacy, and the rising interest in games centred around magic whilst being trans-friendly, itch.io has a bundle of 69 (nice) items made by indie queer artists.
24 of the games are digital, with a further 41 titles being physical tabletop games. Some notable mentions include a witchy dating sim called Casting Hearts, and my personal favourite, a game about a skateboarding witch in Magic Trick.
VRChat Sex Worker Denied Entry to US
VRChat is a form of chat room where attendees are present in virtual reality, allowing them to interact, talk, and play together in a virtual room despite being countries apart. It’s not uncommon to enter a room with a dozen skeletons, 3 furries, and a lot of chaos. Everything ranging from concerts to birthdays to just about anything can exist. Humans being humans, sex, and consequently sex work, also has a place.
The VRChat sex worker, Hex, resides in the United Kingdom, however attempted to visit the United States to visit some friends. She was denied entry and explained how her work was done in a ‘virtual game’. However, according to Hex, the woman interviewing her didn’t quite understand. Despite not technically meeting the legal definition for prostitution in U.S. immigration laws, she was issued an official letter stating that she was denied entry due to ‘prostitution’.
And now for some upcoming games!
Theatrhythm Final Bar Line (PS4, Switch)
Wild West Dynasty (PC)
Gigantosaurus: Dino Kart (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
The Settlers: New Allies (PC)
Tales of Symphonia Remastered (PS4, XBO, Switch)
Wild Hearts (PC, PS5, XBO)
The Dreams in the Witch House (PC)
Atomic Heart (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)
Like a Dragon: Ishin (PS5, PS4)
Ninja JaJaMaru: The Great Yokai Battle+Hell Deluxe Edition (PS4, Switch)
Ninja JaJaMaru: The Lost RPGs (PS4, Switch)
Ninja JaJaMaru: The Legendary Collection (PS4, Switch)
Digimon World: Next Order (PC, Switch)
After the Fall (PSVR 2)
Fantavision 202X (PSVR 2)
Gran Turismo 7 PSVR 2 upgrade (PSVR 2)
Horizon Call of the Mountain (PSVR 2)
Job Simulator (PSVR 2)
Jurassic World Aftermath Collection (PSVR 2)
Kayak VR: Mirage (PSVR 2)
Kizuna AI – Touch the Beat! (PSVR 2)
The Last Clockwinder (PSVR 2)
The Light Brigade (PSVR 2)
Resident Evil Village (PSVR 2)
Song in the Smoke (PSVR 2)
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge – Enhanced Edition (PSVR 2)
Don’t be afraid… It’s just a Zed Games podcast with some gaming news, a review from Paul on the award winning visual novel A Space For The Unbound, and at the end of it all Zahra talks nightmares while reviewing The Fridge is Red.
DnD OGL Update Aftermath In the aftermath of the Open Game Licence 2.0 leak, Wizards of the Coast have struggled to claw back their fanbase as DnD Beyond servers suffer under the load of mass subscription cancelations. Additionally, several big third-party publishers who would be affected by the new royalty system have tabled their intention to either jump ship or create their own licensing system. Kobold Press teased “Project Black Flag”, Matt Colville’s MCDM Productions is working on both a new OGL as well as a new TTRPG, and Paizo/Pathfinder looking to collaborate on an open RPG license. In response, a statement was released insisting “It was never our intent to impact the vast majority of the community.” They also tried to clarify stating that any future revisions “…will not include the license back provision that some people were afraid was a means for us to steal work. That thought never crossed our minds.”
Activision Blizzard… when will it end? As the saga continues, here’s the current headlines coming out of the company that can’t stop making waves.
Activision Blizzard has refused to acknowledge the union that formed late December. Management at Proletariat issued the statement that leadership “…has always been pro-worker“ and that employees “…deserve some time to process (sic) and to better understand its potential impacts.”
The Microsoft Activision Blizzard merger that was announced in January 2022 has had new challenges with the European Union filing an antitrust challenge and Google parent Alphabet Inc, and Nvidia are filing for unfair advantages in the gaming market. These join other objections placed with the US Federal Trade Commission to be investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority, and finalised in April.
In some hearsay arguments Activision Blizzard claims that it was Netease that rejected the six-month extension of their partnership. Various sources cite irreconcilable differences including Netease president referring to an Activision Blizzard executive as a “jerk”. Because of these, after January 23rd several titles will no longer be accessible in China, most notably World of Warcraft, Diablo 3, Starcraft, and Overwatch 2.
Doors Close on Stadia As the curtains close on the experiment that was Google Stadia, refunds have been processed for everything but Pro subscriptions… but payments were also paused the day shutdown was announced. But what about all that hardware you don’t have? Well, if you did manage to get the controller, Google haspushed a self-serve tool to enable Bluetooth connections with the gamepads. Meaning, your Stadia Gamepad may be obsolete, but at least you can still use it on the hardware you didn’t get because you used Stadia. Oh! Remember that guy who had 6000 hours in Red Dead Online on the Stadia who was pleading for a character transfer? Well, not only did Rockstar organise a transfer, he also got a gift box from the company. Unfortunately, Rockstar has announced they will no longer be releasing any major content for Red Dead Online, instead focusing on the upcoming GTA6.
And finally, a moment for the death of Google Stadia…
And now, for some upcoming games. On Friday January 20th, the next instalment in the series Fire Emblem Engages and its Wave 1 DLC are coming to Switch. World War 1 horror survival Trenches emerges from Steam early access onto PlayStation, Xbox, & the Switch. Tuesday January 24th, the RAM-hungry, RPG, fantasy shooter Forspoken is coming to PC & PS5, and deckbuilding & strategy boardgame mashup Mahokenshi comes to PC. And on Thursday January 26th, for that nostalgia hit Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection is coming to PlayStation and Switch. The strange Hitman: World of Assassination hodgepodge that collects Hitman 1 to 3 as well as Hitman 3: Freelancer Mode are all coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch. Fight the nightmares of a girl in the twin stick shooter NeverAwake, coming to PlayStation and Switch.
An event organised by Springfield Gamers, SpringCon’22 is the culmination of a tremendous amount of effort, organisation, and heart in order to create a fun, newbie-friendly tabletop extravaganza.
SpringCon is a celebration of everything to do with tabletop role-playing games, board games, card games, and all the gear, loot, and community that surrounds these hobbies. There is also an emphasis on introducing these hobbies to people who are new, curious, or seeking a new community to join. There were tournaments with some impressive prizes, workshops for learning how to make terrain for tabletop games, demonstrations for various tabletop systems, a bring-and-buy event where attendees could bring in their old boardgames and get something totally new, and so much more. Zed Games got to experience the first ever SpringCon this year, and we are looking forward to seeing what’s on next year!
WHO ARE THE ORGANISERS?
A community effort requires a community, and SpringCon’22 was no exception.
Primarily organised by Neal, the club president of Springfield Gamers, he has a tonne of experience with sharing games, but also teaching and guiding new players, organising regular gaming days and nights, and creating a welcoming environment. He is pictured here with the tournament grand prize, a full tabletop map.
The primary sponsor and vendor was Epic Ipswich, an amazing play space and game store with a fully equipped cafe, perfect for those who want to make an afternoon of it. Whilst having a look at their stall, which was stocked with absolutely everything anyone could possibly need to get into tabletop role-playing games or board-games, we took the opportunity to chat with the stall handlers, who were hugely welcoming, had a lot of information for us, and has instilled a desire to visit Epic Ipswich at some point.
Caitlin Fairchild dice bags, who had a tonne of creative, hand-made dice bags that were both very cute and very funny.
Geektastic Accessories, full of detailed, clever, and really funky accessories (including fabulous d20 earrings).
Terrain workshops were run by Corrupted Quill, and she was so booked out we didn’t even get a chance to chat with her, but we did take a tonne of photos of some of her work.
In addition there were plenty of food and drink stalls available, such as BBQ, potato tornadoes (a personal favourite), gigantic cups of iced tea, and coffee of course, all available outside with plenty of shaded seating. Perfect for recharging after seeing everything in the hall!
WAS IT FUN?
SpringCon was a tremendous amount of fun, but more than that it was engaging, interesting, and inspiring. Even if we couldn’t participate in everything that was available, just chatting to vendors and participants was fascinating as we asked how they got into this hobby, how they started, and their favourite creations or moments.
A common theme? Nearly everyone had, at some point, taken the dive to get into a game that they were curious about, but had no idea where to start, but thanks to friends or a small leap of faith, have been able to put their heart and time into something so detailed, interesting, and a little bit niche. That was a similar story, whether they were creatives, players, or organisers. Of course, a few people had simply grown up with it, but their open-arms approach makes it a lot easier for newbies to make that dive.
Truly, the best part of SpringCon is that there will be another one next year!
Nobody knows how epic this podcast is… will you take the plunge? Listen in to Ezie and Elliott talk news, while Paul reviews Nobody Saves the World, and Tobi screams incoherently about Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Dual at Mt. Skullzfyre.