Pride at Play

  • 2023

  • Social Impact

Designed By:

  • Xavier Ho, Mads Mackenzie
  • Fae Daunt, Chloe Appleby
  • Jazmine Smith, Shreya Venkatesh
  • Ryan Stanton, Claire Hosking
  • Jae Stuart and Mahli-Ann Butt

Commissioned By:

Monash University

The University of Sydney

Interactive Games and Entertainment Association

City of Port Phillip

Designed In:


Pride at Play is a queer games exhibition for the public, a curated collection of thoughtful queer games made by queer folks for queer players. This event celebrates and brings together games from Oceania and Asia Pacific, puts queer independent games on the map, and makes them accessible for everyone.

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Image: Monash University
Image: Monash University
Image: Xavier Ho
Image: Garry Trinh
Image: Garry Trinh
Image: Sarah Kukathas
  • MORE
  • It has been 45 years since the Sydney Mardi Gras original protest against police violence. While the world is very different now, queer folks still find it difficult to imagine positive futures. Many young people are digital natives and find meaning and creativity through making interactive games. Australia is experiencing a renewed games industry growth, however major events still face uncertain futures. Pride at Play critically captures queer games in the last decade and poses this central question: how can we play with queer narratives, and can queer narratives influence how we play?

  • Pride at Play is queer-led, designed by and for the community. At the heart of the exhibition are dual spaces: a playful space where visitors can play 22 heartfelt queer games, and a conversation space with queer game designers activated through interviews, screenshots, and social events. We translated the initial call-out into seven different languages, and published a print catalogue capturing heartwarming interviews with all the queer designers in the official selection. Pride at Play provides a safe space to level up conversations for queer folks in public, and shows that games can be tools for queering the future classroom.

  • From 21 February through 4 March 2023, Sydney College of the Arts hosted Pride at Play as part of Sydney WorldPride festival. Pride at Play is the first queer games exhibition for Oceania and the Asia Pacific. Pride at Play surfaced the invisible labour of queer folks in the creative industries. The project research revealed contemporary barriers and opportunities, business and funding models, regional communities, and questions of purposeful, authentic, and inclusive representation. Subsequent exhibitions have been brought to Melbourne. Its print catalogue was collected by National Film and Sound Archive, preserving queer games as cultural heritage for future generations.

  • Australia is home to many major commercial games events such as the Melbourne International Games Week, Games Connect Asia Pacific, and PAX (Penny Arcade Expo), but there is a gap in exhibiting and fostering art games on the margins. The curatorial process was rigorous, jury-reviewed, and considerate for regional sensitivities. The exhibition featured workshops and social events in addition to the gallery program, including queer poetry reading, queer game development panel, games writing workshop, and three LGBTQIA+ friendly social tabletop game sessions. It features a broad range of platforms including Windows, Mac, Mobile, Tabletop, and Game Boy games that centre queer narratives. The design research for Pride at Play demonstrated that curation is a meaningful form of queer resistance that participates in active political protest while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of queer representation that the LGBTQIA+ and broader communities crucially need.