Freeplay Awards 2023: Judges

Our judges come from a wide variety of experience across indie games and other industries, including former Freeplay Awards winners.

Alex Wynnter - Founder (Tabletop Game Designers Australia)

Alex Wynnter

Alex Wynnter is the Creative Director of Red Genie Games and a very busy dude. Along with recent fatherhood he juggles podcasting, designing and developing games, teaching design, managing the TGDA Facebook group and generally being a man about town in the Australian board gaming community.

Cecile Richard - 2021 Freeplay Award Winner (UNDER A STAR CALLED SUN)

Cecile Richard

Cecile Richard is an award-winning graphic designer and game maker who makes cool things on the computer and lives on Wurundjeri land aka Melbourne.

Dakoda Barker - Director & Consultant (Represent Me)

Dakoda Barker

Dakoda Barker is a designer, writer, and consultant, and has won awards for his work, including the Freeplay Independent Games Festival micro-game award for 'Rise'. He specialises in the areas of chronic health conditions and Aboriginal Australia, and also works as a freelance writer and editor.

Dan Ferguson - 2021 Freeplay Award Winner (Completely Stretchy and Uncomfortably Sticky)

Dan Ferguson

Dan Ferguson is a Melbourne-based games designer and artist who won a 2021 Freeplay Award for his game Completely Stretchy and Uncomfortably Sticky.

dana mckay - 2021 Freeplay Award Winner (A Long Goodbye)

dana mckay

dana mckay is a writer and award winning game designer with a passion for storytelling in any medium or form. When Dana's not doing that, Dana plays guitar and make questionable decisions in RPGs. Dana currently works as a Game Designer at EA Firemonkeys and won a 2021 Freeplay Award for A Long Goodbye.

Edwin Montgomery - 2021 Freeplay Award Winner (Neon Cyborg Cat Club)

Edwin Montgomery

Edwin Montgomery is a composer, musician and mixed media artist who works across film, games, immersive theatre, installations and mixed media artworks. They are known for the epic orchestral soundtrack to Warhammer 40,000: Regicide, the dystopian soundtrack to Wasteland and their live solo performances of original multi-instrumental film scores. Edwin also creates sonic-driven interactive multimedia artworks and games, including Neon Cyborg Cat Club (winner of the 2021 Freeplay Experimental Game Award); and Isolationist Nightclub Simulator, an online interactive music experience funded by Creative Victoria. 

Ella Lim - 2021 Freeplay Award Winner (The Lighthouse at the End of the Universe)

Ella Lim

Ella Lim is an award winning TTRPG writer, graphic designer and zine maker. Ella is based in Hobart/Nipaluna, Tasmania and currently she runs her online shop and freelance graphic design full time. As part of LostWays, Ella won a 2021 Freeplay Award for The Lighthouse at the End of the Universe.

Jarra Karaliner Steel - Art Director (GUCK) & Curator (RISING Art Trams)

Jarra Karaliner Steel

Jarra Karaliner Steel is a Multidisciplinary artist from Melbourne Australia, based in Melbourne's south in Euro Yuroke (St Kilda) on Boonwurrung country. Jarra is of the Yaluk-ut Weelam clan of the Boonwurrung, Wemba Wemba, Pairrebeenne/Trawlwoolway with lines to the Barrup Barrup clans. She also is of English and Scottish descent. Jarra is a passionate advocate for Self-Representation/determination of Victorian First Peoples Art and Culture and is determined in making sure it is kept alive and thriving. Jarra is currently the curator for the 2022 Rising Art Trams and the Art Director for GUCK Inc. for an untitled video game.

Marisa Wikramanayake - Journalist & MEAA Federal Council Member

Marisa Wikramanayake

Marisa Wikramanayake is a Sri Lankan-born, Australia-based creative writer, journalist and editor. They currently write about property investment and development for The Urban Developer and have previously reported for The Age, The South China Morning Post, and The Guardian among others. They have written about international politics, business, science and the arts. They have  been longlisted for manuscript awards for their first literary novel and were awarded the inaugural KSP-Varuna Foundation Fellowship working on their first crime fiction novel. They are the current Victorian media section president for the MEAA and the deputy president for the MEAA's Ethics Committee. They are also an avid gamer and stream gameplay and writing online on Twitch.

Noah Seymour - 2021 Freeplay Award Winner (Webbed)

Noah Seymour

Noah Seymour is a game designer that makes small games mostly focused on exploring spaces. They won a 2021 Freeplay Award for Webbed.

Phoebe Watson - Lead Game Designer (GUCK)

Phoebe Watson

Phoebe Watson is a proud Yarrer Gunditj woman from the Maar Nation in South West Victoria. Phoebe graduated from RMIT in 2020 with a bachelors degree in Game Design. Since graduating she has continued to work in the games industry working locally with GUCK on their unannounced indigenous led project as a game designer. Phoebe has worked locally within Melbourne and Australia as well as internationally with Star Stable Entertainment on their new project as a writer and junior designer, and Ubisoft in a small sensitivity reading role on Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.

Awards Lead

Creatrix Tiara - Awards Lead (Freeplay)

Creatrix Tiara

Creatrix Tiara is the first ever Awards Lead for Freeplay, one of the longest-running festivals for independent games in the world. Tiara works with creative arts and media, technology, games, community cultural development, and education to explore ideas around community, identity, liminality, belonging, and social justice, with a particular interest in bringing together different artforms in emerging and experimental ways. Currently Tiara is very interested in ways to bring video games and performing arts together, such as analysing stage magic in video games as part of their PNGTubing stream or producing & directing ACNH Fringe, a Fringe Festival held within a dedicated Animal Crossing: New Horizons island.