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Game Writing Festival for Ōtepoti - Dunedin

The Dunedin-based New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) is indulging the growing practice of video game writing and narrative design with an international "Festival of Interactive Narrative and Storytelling” (FINS) in Ōtepoti - Dunedin, 12th - 14th May 2023.

A family engaging with the digital touch screen in the Smith Gallery, Toitū. Skillfully bringing stories to life is key for the video game development industry.

CODE Event, Community and Education Manager, Lauren Saker, says, "Regional Events Funding will help CODE launch a series of lead-up community events in the interactive storytelling space, and support a larger weekend-long interactive narrative design festival in May 2023.”

"This will form the basis of a long-term plan to build the Festival into an internationally recognised biannual event, and an unmissable part of the calendar for New Zealand creatives drawn to interactive media as a form of artistic and commercial expression."


The Festival of Interactive Narrative & Storytelling will concentrate on upskilling existing creatives drawn from fiction writers, theatre, Māori creative industries and creators of interactive media (including games) in narrative design.


FINS will focus on:

  • interactive fiction, narrative design, and their practical application to traditional games

  • Indigenous storytelling

  • new forms of interactive entertainment

  • visual novels

  • games-adjacent experiences

  • Serious/Applied Games, i.e., games for educational purposes, social outcomes, health and citizen science outcomes, etc.


“Having a strong Māori presence is important for the event, given the storytelling in tikanga Māori (Māori customary practices and values). This is an ideal entry point in many ways,” Lauren says. “Dunedin’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature underscores this as the ideal location of this festival, too.


“CODE has been looking for an event to create for a while. Having something with its own specific identity and flavour is more appealing and it's time for an event for narrative/game-based storytellers in a physical space.”


FINS 2023 will run over three days with the main festival events taking place across Otepoti - Dunedin the weekend of Friday 12th - Sunday 14th May 2023.


We aim to run multiple talks, panels and workshops simultaneously throughout the weekend, and including evening networking events.



The Festival of Interactive Narrative & Storytelling is open to all experience levels - from rangatahi (youth) to career professionals looking to build practical skills and networks – so we will be welcoming talks, panels and workshops from all experience levels.


FINS also welcomes submissions for remote presentations along with traditional in-person presentations for consideration.


If you have any questions regarding your speaker submission or being a digital speaker, please do not hesitate to contact Lauren Saker at fins@codedunedin.nz.


The deadline for talk and panel submissions is 10 March 2023.

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