Lunarcade to bring space and stories to Sydney

Lunarcade, the experimental and independent "games circus", will make its debut in Sydney, Australia this week and continue through to August 9.

Lunarcade, the experimental and independent "games circus", will make its debut in Sydney, Australia this week and continue through to August 9.

The show has been curated around the theme "spatial narrative" and will showcase playable games that encourage viewers to think about the relationship between settings and stories.

The show is curated by Bryan Ma, Pietro Righi Riva and Nicolò Tedeschi, who have previously collaborated on other Lunarcade exhibitions in Shanghai. Ma told Polygon that with Lunarcade Sydney, the three curators wanted to try something a bit more experimental.

"The discussion about the curatorial angle oscillated but we ended up focusing on the ideas of open 3D space, abstraction, goallessness, and narrative experimentation," Ma told Polygon.

"We want to explore narrative or dialogue that emerges to and with players through interaction in spaces – both in virtual spaces, like in Zobeide, and in physical spaces, like in Johann Sebastian Joust.

"We want to think about space as a blank canvas where a fresh dialogue can start fresh again and again."

"We want to think about space as a blank canvas where a fresh dialogue can start fresh again and again, and reflect on this dialogue as a form of constant mediation between players and the elements of a system."

During the week of the exhibition, Lunarcade will run two different kinds of events: "CIRCUS", which is the Lunarcade exhibition that will showcase a selection of indie games that share specific aesthetics, interactivity and meaning, and "FACTORY", which is a series of workshops and game jams on particular themes.

Some of the games that will be at the show include Tale of Tales' Bientôt l'été, Dan Pinchbeck's Dear Esther, Die Gute Fabrik's Johann Sebastian Joust, and Robert Yang's Zobeide.

Ma, who is a newcomer to Sydney, says that the city does not have as many video game-themed exhibitions and events compared to Melbourne, so he hopes that the show will get people in Sydney excited and talking about the possibilities and the work that is being done internationally by developers.

"We hope visitors can experience a 'space' in a different way, and question the role of the world that surrounds us in inducing a consistent interaction, in developing meaning, in establishing a dialogue," Ma says.

"More generally, it would be great if students and developers walk away with some inspiration. I would love for gamers to walk away with a wider perspective on what games can be about. And it would be wonderful if people who don't know much about games to also have discovered something valuable in the experience and maybe look at the world of games with a new perspective."

Lunarcade will run from August 3-9 at Serial Space, 33 Wellington Street, Chippendale, Sydney. Entry is free. Joust begins at 7pm each night. For more information, visit the Lunarcade website.

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