The 3rd A MAZE. / Johannesburg international Games and Playful Media Festival and the first under the Wits University umbrella event in September 2014, Fak’ugesi Digital Africa Festival, was a resounding success.
Speakers and artists from 14 different countries (Kenya, South Africa, Germany, Poland, The Netherlands, South Korea, New Zealand, UK, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, and Sweden) presented their newest works and shared cutting-edge knowledge about play, game design, coding, sound design, animation, and independent game business.
The four days of intensive interactive programme including talks, workshops, screenings, exhibition, concerts, game installations, network events, playfulness and parties brought more than 2000 independent game developers, enthusiasts, makers, coders, electronic musicians, forward-thinkers and visitors into the iClub at the Wits Tshimologong Precinct in Juta Street, Braamfontein.
Prof Christo Doherty, chairperson of the Fak’ugesi Digital Africa Festival said that besides the outstanding interdisciplinary of the A MAZE programme, there were a few cross-over highlights made possible by the linkage with the Fak’ugesi Digital Africa Festival: “Exceptional features included the Schools’ Game Design Workshop Day at Wits Digital Arts, the onedotzero/ConnectZA Cascades workshops; the Korean game installation “Being Faust: Enter Mephisto” at the iThuba Gallery brought by the Goethe-Institut; the Market Hack in cooperation with the British Council; and the [email protected] Game Industry discussions initiated by the Swedish Institut.”
A MAZE Festival director Thorsten S. Wiedemann added, “Having concluded our third year of the A MAZE. Festival in South Africa, we’re now established as part of the annual cultural calendar in Johannesburg, creating an international platform for artists from different disciplines who want to evolve and discuss game culture and game creation in Africa.”
He says that together with the umbrella event Fak’ugesi Digital Africa Festival, and in partnership with Wits Digital Arts and Kalashnikovv Gallery, the stage is set to inspire more makers and enthusiasts of the digital age who understand the potential of the game medium and the idea of play in art, education and also business. “We would like to thank all the participants, sponsors and partners who made A MAZE. a valuable and unforgettable experience for everyone. Special thanks goes to The University of the Witwatersrand, The British Council, The European Union, The Goethe-Institut, Pro Helvetia, The Swedish Institut and Free Lives,” concludes Wiedemann.
A MAZE. / Johannesburg will come back next year in early September 2015.
For images taken at this year’s event, please see: A MAZE 2014 – photos by Lerato Maduna