A year ago, A MAZE. Johannesburg 2015 was – how else could it be – a wonderful time. So it is no surprise I (Philipp Schäfer) decided to go this year as well. Like A MAZE. Berlin, the festival features talks, workshops and parties. Since it is a younger festival it is smaller, which has the benefit that it has way more of this “subculture family touch” – especially if you go there a second time. The South African community amplifies this even more. I can feel my eyes glowing when I speak about the community over there.
The location of the festival returned to its beautiful venue of 2014, two years ago. The building offers a nice courtyard for events, a big room for talks and a bunch of rooms to provide every game installation with the space it deserves. Luckily, I did not have to miss out on one of my favorite views from the venue last year, since all this year’s workshops took place over there. Let’s look at it one more time:
Next to A MAZE. there are of course some other local events as well. Super Friendship Arcade has been around for some time in Cape Town and since recently there is also an event in Johannesburg called Glitchface. One night this year the power of this trinity united in one public place in Braamfontein. Why am I talking about it? Because the event attracted a lot of none-game-developers and showed them the none mainstream side of games in a very open fashion: an event, which I have not seen very often and would like to see more! (I think it is one of the core pillars of the A MAZE. festivals and cannot be emphasized enough)
Looking into the future: I would love to see A MAZE. Johannesburg get bigger and attract a more international audience. I emphasized the cozy feeling above that bases on the smaller familiar community, but even if the festival will grow, it will always offer room to chill out with your group whenever you like. The professional level of the developers in South Africa is high and many new talents are emerging. Maybe you have recognized that the press is also slowly catching up on it. Right now it’s only a matter of time before more Free Lives or qcfdesigns will pop up – looking into the direction of Team Lazerbeam or Nyamakop for example.