Free new urban adventure games just launched in Footscray, Melbourne

Free new urban adventure games just launched in Footscray, Melbourne

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A new augmented-reality adventure game has just launched in Footscray, encouraging people to immerse themselves within one of Melbourne's most colourful suburbs.

The Footscray Market, Western Bulldogs, Franco Cozzo, Romper Stomper, Snuff Puppets, Laneway…Footscray is undoubtedly one of Melbourne’s most interesting historical suburbs, and one of its most transitory.

A new AR adventure game seeks to tap into the area’s historical charm and take players on a musical, storytelling journey to discover hidden artworks and unlock local secrets. Today marks the game’s launch for the first time in Footscray, however it also coincides with the game’s re-launch in Melbourne’s CBD after a series of COVID delays. So no matter which side of the Maribyrnong you find yourself on, if you’re looking for a little self-guided adventure on your daily dog walk, read on.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

The journey is soundtracked by a selection of local artists such as Jess Locke, Ajak Kwai, Allara Briggs-Pattison, The Orbweavers and Oka, with narration from Elders and other local figures such as N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM, Uncle Larry Walsh and Samuel Gebreselassie who share memories, poetry, language and knowledge about the landscape. If you have a phone and some headphones, the sky is quite literally the limit.

It’s called 64 Ways of Being and it invites players on a self-guided walking trip through Footscray’s streets, laneways and the riverside to discover digital artworks, the neighbourhood’s culture and communities, and its Indigenous histories.

It starts appropriately with Footscray’s ancient history as a meeting place for the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and the Bunurong peoples, and explores the area’s successive waves of European, Indo-Chinese, African and Middle Eastern immigration, that have seen it become one of Australia’s most multicultural pockets. As many as half of Footscray residents were born overseas. Through games like 64 Ways of Being, Footscray residents can form a deeper understanding of the cultural fabric they’re sewn into every day.

Free to download and play, the 64 Ways of Being app uses audio and on-screen cues to prompt players to observe, listen, play and discover. While walking, players are asked to put away their phone and be immersed in the audio, bringing it back into play for moments of interaction with AR activations and newly commissioned public artworks. It’s a nice touch, encouraging people to enjoy the immersive potential of the experience, while aiming to not get run over by one of Footscray’s other famous attractions – the thousands of trucks that pour through its streets each day.

Created by artist gamemaker Dr Troy Innocent in collaboration with game developers Millipede and sound designers one step at a time like this.

“64 Ways of Being has evolved during the pandemic, and in response to it,” Dr Troy says. “People are seeking moments of connection with place, a renewed appreciation for shared public space and spirit of urban adventure. A sense of possibility.

“While the CBD might be the centre of Melbourne, Footscray is the heart of the city – it’s where new things happen. This was apparent when working with this place, and the overwhelming sense of community, connection, and of possibility.”

The Footscray journey opens today alongside the re-launch of the 64 Ways of Being Melbourne CBD journey, which faced pandemic-related interruptions last year. Adventures start in Little Africa in Footscray and on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne CBD, and can be played at your leisure via the App Store or Google Play.