In its fourth year, A MAZE./ Johannesburg 2015 will bring digital and analog games, interactive arts, music, and all things playful to Braamfontein from 9 to the 12 September 2015. In an intensive three-day programme, it will include talks, workshops, panels, hyper-talks, screenings, artistic games, VR experiences, playful installations, concerts, AV performances and a party.
“Video games are not just about a game or a product, it is a lifestyle. There is a distinct move away from mainstream gaming with new forms of presentations and platforms for a new generation of players emerging. It’s a growing community and it feels amazing to be back in Johannesburg to see the same movement growing here year after year,” Thorsten S. Wiedemann, founder and artistic director of A MAZE.
The 2015 festival brings with it a plethora of international and African guests addressing topics ranging from creating alternative controllers to games focused on socio-political events. Visitors and participants will come from Kenya; Nigeria; Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire. Eight of the African game guests are being brought to participate in the festival by the Goethe-Institut South Africa. Dr. Norbert Spitz, Regional Director Goethe-Institut South Africa, says: ”We are proud to continue our partnership with the Fak’ugesi: African Digital Innovation Festival in 2015. In line with our goal to strengthen pan-African dialogue through the arts, we are once more inviting digital artists and game developers from all over the continent to the 4th AMAZE Games and Playful Media Festival in Johannesburg, which will also be part of Fak’ugesi Festival.”
Prof Christo Doherty, co-founder and Director of the Fak’ugesi: African Digital Innovation Festival and Head of Digital Arts at Wits University says that an exciting addition to this year’s A MAZE./ Johannesburg will be two pop-up arcade and workshop sessions, one in Soweto on September 5 and the other in Alexandra on September 7: “This brings the playful, knowledge sharing nature of A MAZE./ Johannesburg further into the city. South African and European experts will introduce township youth ranging in ages from 16 to 30 to the art of game development as well as discuss and explore education and job opportunities.”
A MAZE./ Johannesburg will also feature a curated exhibition of the most interesting, mind-blowing and experimental games from Africa, Europe, and South Africa. Wiedemann says that in past there were multiplayer games parodying American foreign policy and masculinity, to quiet musical puzzle games to ponder on: “Each year the exhibition yields a collection of work that will pique a broad range of interests while questioning and pushing the boundaries of the possibilities of play and games. This year, there will be a new and provocative curation of erotic, sex and gender games that explores the boundaries and possibilities of eroticism in the medium of interaction.”
Another exciting part of the exhibition is the collection of locally made custom controllers and accompanying games. “From a massive 10-person controller made to control battling giant virtual robots to an impossibly small dozen button box made for a ‘finger twister.’ This section will offer innovative play experiences and introduce new video game enthusiasts,” explains Wiedemann.
The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival will run from 21 August to 13 September in Braamfontein. For more information about the events of the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival go to http://www.fakugesi.co.za and for more information on A MAZE./ Johannesburg visit www.amaze-johannesburg.co.za