The mentors for this year’s WordPlay Game Writing Mentorship Program have been named, and it’s an all-star list.
Budding game writers will learn from the best in the business as industry leaders prepare to share their expertise.
Mentors include: Teacher. Dan GoldingVice President of Media and Communications at Swinburne University, host of Screen Sounds on ABC Classic and award-winning composer and writer; Alice Clark, freelance journalist, producer and presenter; game journalist Lea Williams; writer and narrative designer at Mighty Kingdom James O’Connor; Edmond Tran, editor at GamesHub; writer and curator Jini Maxwell; Brendan Keogh, Queensland University of Technology researcher and author; and award-winning journalist Rae Johnson. Learn more about the mentors below.
Now open for applications until August 7, the 2022 program commission eight emerging writers from Victoria with an interest in digital games to write a feature article inspired or informed by the events of Melbourne International Games Week 2022, which will then be published on the GamesHub website.
Successful applicants will receive one-on-one mentorship and participate in group workshops focused on sharing knowledge and learning practical skills in game writing and reporting.
Play on words is delivered by GamesHub, Melbourne International Games Week and Creative Victoria.
Melbourne International Games Week returns to Melbourne from October 1 to 9, 2022.
Mentors for Wordplay 2022
Alice Clark is a freelance journalist, producer and presenter with 16 years of experience. She has written for numerous publications including age, The Oz, Herald Sun, Kotaku, Gizmodo, Vogue and GQ onend has worked on local and international TV shows as a producer.
Along with writing, she’s also co-curator of the PAX Together lounge at PAX Australia, a space that celebrates minorities in gaming on both sides of the controller.
Teacher. Dan Golding is Vice President for Media and Communications at Swinburne University, the host of Screen sounds on ABC Classic, and an award-winning composer and writer.
He is the author of Star Wars after Lucas (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), and with Leena van Deventer, co-author of game changers (Affirm Press, 2016).
He has also produced the soundtracks for BAFTA, DICE and GDCA winners. Untitled Game of Goose (2019), also the first game soundtrack to be nominated for an ARIA award in history; Push me pull you (2016); and the frog detective series, for which his score for haunted island (2018) won the APRA-AMCOS Australian Game Developer Award for Best Music.
He also co-hosts the popular film music podcast The art of sheet musicand in 2018 Dan presented What is music for ABC iView and Triple J with Linda Marigliano. Since 2010, he has written journalism and commentary for a wide variety of publications (ABC Arts, Crikey, Buzzfeed, Meanjin, Kotaku), and a video essayist with 1 million views on YouTube. From 2014 to 2017 he was director of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival.
Rae Johnson is an award-winning journalist who focuses on the geek side of life. His work appears across television, radio, podcasts, online media and print media. Rae is also the producer and host of premier tech podcasts The queens of the drone era and Hear + beyond.
Rae was NITV’s first science and technology editor at SBS, the first female editor of Gizmodo Australiaand the first native publisher of junkee – where she established an award-winning gaming vertical.
Rae is a founding mentor of The Working Lunch program, which supports underrepresented beginners in gaming. She is also an external evaluator at Film Victoria, helping fund indie games.
Rae’s work won him the Lighting The Way award for championing and supporting the Australian games industry at the Australian Game Developer Awards. The Australian Games Awards named her both Journalist of the Year (2018) and The Gamechanger – awarded for challenging negative misconceptions about video games throughout her career.
Brendan Keogh (he/she) is a researcher at the Queensland University of Technology at the Center for Digital Media Research and co-organizer of the Squiggly River Game Collective. He has been active in the Australian game maker community for over a decade as a critic, educator, researcher and amateur game maker.
He is the author of A Body Game: How We Perceive Video Games; Killing is harmless; and The Unity Game Engine and Culture Software Circuits (co-written with Benjamin Nicoll). He has written about video game culture for a range of outlets, including Polygon, Edge, By the roadand Impossible to win.
Jini Maxwell (they/them) is a writer and curator based in Melbourne, Australia. Jini works as a curator at ACMI, where she also co-hosts the ACMI Women’s and Non-Binary Gamers Club, and hosts the ACMI X Works-In-Progress Party for game makers. screen.
They contribute a regular column of game reviews to The Saturday newspaper, alongside other independent projects, and most recently guest-edited a GAME-themed issue of Cordite Poetry Review alongside Rory Green. They previously worked as a content manager at Gameshub, where they founded the Wordplay mentorship program. In 2021, Jini was awarded Best Gaming Journalist at the Samsung Australian IT Journalism Awards.
James O’Connor is a narrative designer at Mighty Kingdom, where he worked on Ava Mansion, Star Trek Lower Decks Mobile, Conan Chop Chopand several upcoming games that he is not allowed to talk about.
He worked as a senior editor for Hyper magazine, the game publisher for Mania magazine, a news reporter for GameSpotcritic and freelance journalist for dozens of publications, including IGN, Vice, Edge, PC PowerPlay and australia.
In 2016, he completed his master’s thesis, “The Character Feels Like It, Not Me”: Player-Driven Narrative Experiences in Grand Theft Auto IV. He also worked as a lecturer and research assistant and was involved in the early stages of curating ACMI play it again project through Flinders University.
Edmond Tran has been entrenched in gaming media for over 14 years and is the editor of game hub.
From 2008 to 2020, he was part of the famous world games publication, GameSpot, serving as Australia’s Editor-in-Chief from 2015. Prior to that, he was Senior Video Producer, winning several awards for his original programming. He has been nominated multiple times for Best Gaming Journalist and Best Reviewer at the Samsung Australian IT Journalism Awards.
Edmond has been on the ground covering ten Tokyo Game Shows, eight E3 Expos and every iteration of PAX Australia. He has conducted multi-day live broadcasts, written and edited countless reviews, previews and features, and conducted interviews with the likes of Shuhei Yoshida, Mark Cerny, Phil Spencer, Nobuo Uematsu, Shinji Mikami, Warren Spector, Alexy Pajitnov, Koji Igarashi. and SUDA51.
Leah Williams is a games journalist who writes for publications such as GamesHub, Kotaku Australia, Gizmodo Australia, IGN, and The AU Review.
In 2021, she was nominated for Best Gaming Journalist at the Samsung Australian IT Journalism Awards, and was named Best New Journalist the previous year.
Her passions are telling untold stories and uncovering relics of gaming history. She writes frequently about the future of video games and the impact of emerging technologies on sustainability.
How to apply for WordPlay 2022?
Application details can be found in the following article:
Apply for the WordPlay Game Writing Mentorship Program 2022
What are the key dates for Wordplay 2022?
Applications for the WordPlay Game Writing Mentorship Program 2022 will be closed 11:59 p.m., August 7, 2022.
Successful candidates will be contacted the week of August 8, 2022 and will be announced the following week.
About the WordPlay 2021 Cohort
The inaugural WordPlay program saw six talented individuals create a host of fantastic articles. Since the end of the program, some participants have continued to write for GamesHub as well as organizations like ACMI and Samurai Punk.
We encourage you to read their excellent work of WordPlay 2021:
WordPlay 2021 mentors were Jini Maxwell, Dan Golding, Rae Johnston, Brendan Keogh, Alice Clarke and Edmond Tran.