Haere mai! Kia ora! Welcome!

Aotearoa’s most unique game conference is coming back back back again for 2022. Play by Play is a game development conference with a difference, combining all topics into a single stream with a connected thread to inspire and engage our attendees.

Talk submissions for Play by Play 2022 are officially open until 11:59pm Wednesday 15 December 2021.

We’re inviting speakers of all backgrounds to join us at Soundings Theatre at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa to share stories, knowledge and wisdom, so we can increase our INT, WIS and CHA. 😉 Speaking experience is not required — we’re more excited to hear about your real experiences, lessons and inspiration.

This year's theme is:

🧪 Unconventional Alchemy 🔮

An exploration of unexpected and multidisciplinary journeys, foraging for unfamiliar ingredients, taking inspiration from the natural world, unsuspected characters and the paths less travelled. We ask speakers to examine the alchemy in their own lives, share the surprising or unusual moments in their careers or deliver the secret recipes that made their work come to life.

Amber Taylor standing behind the podium, smiling, during her keynote presentation. Manu from Journeys of Manu is on the projector screen behind her.
Amber Taylor (ARA Journeys) delivers the opening keynote of Play by Play 2021.
Lisa Blakie (left) and Jess Woodward (right) seated in armchairs, surrounded by plants and laughing together during a Q&A session at Play by Play 2021.
Lisa Blakie (speaker, left) and Jess Woodward (MC, right) during a Q&A session at Play by Play 2021.

Other relevant information for you:

• Talk submissions close 11.59pm Wednesday 15th December 2021.

• Play by Play will take place on the 29th & 30th of April 2022, location TBA.

• Accepted speakers receive a free all access pass to the Play by Play Conference, the Treat ‘n’ Greet networking night and the Pavs game awards ceremony.

• In line with our core values, we highly encourage speaking applications from those with unique and/or underrepresented perspectives.

• For examples of previous talks and reference of the feel/tone/content of the Play by Play conference, visit the NZ Games Festival YouTube channel.

What about COVID-19?

We're still formalising our COVID-19 strategy. But here's what we can tell you right now...

• We’re working towards an in-person event, with contingencies in place to pivot to digital if required.

• To accommodate speakers who would not be able to attend an in-person event (for example, due to access issues or border restrictions), we will allocate a limited number of digital talks per day of the conference. This means you can apply as an in-person or digital speaker.

• Digital talks must pass the same selection process as physical talks, and these slots are not guaranteed (ie. if no digital talks pass the selection process, all talks will be in-person).

• We will require all speakers, digital and in-person, to submit a filmed version of their talk two weeks prior to Play by Play.

• This will allow us to run a digital event if need be, as well as provide a back-up if you become unable to attend the in-person event. This also gives us a two-week lead time to test videos for technical issues and arrange a digital show as back-up.

• Should an in-person event proceed, we will not be dialling speakers in live to avoid technical complications.

• We will provide updates as our policy develops and we learn more from the government and our stakeholders.

Josh Kamau stands with a microphone and an iPad to read questions from the audience.
Josh Kamau (MC) dictates questions from the audience at Play by Play 2021.

Submit your talk

    Speaker Info

    Describe your best self (or just you – we already think you're your best self).

    Name (required)

    Email (required)

    Twitter Handle

    Please let us know what your pronouns are so that we can refer to you on your terms. For example they/them, he/him, she/her.

    Professional Title/Occupation (Required)


    Bio (Required)
    Your character sheet - a 500-character summary that will be used on our programmes & schedules. Please use third person to describe yourself.

    500 characters remaining.

    Previous Speaking Experience
    Tell us about quests where you've used your speech skill - this could be in the form of guest lectures, previous conference talks, talking to community groups, that impromptu powerpoint preso you gave at your last Christmas party – anything counts! Where possible, please link us to videos if the talks have been uploaded.

    500 characters remaining.

    Speaker Mentorship? (Required)
    We understand that some folks are still levelling up their speech skills – and doing a talk is a great way to learn! If you require mentorship on your talk, or if you're a seasoned speaker that's happy to mentor a junior speaker please let us know.
    I'm new to speaking, and I would like to be paired with a mentor.I'm an experienced speaker who would like to mentor a new speaker.I'd prefer not to take part in the mentorship program.

    Talk Information

    Give us a walkthrough guide of your talk.

    Talk Style(Required)
    Will you present in-person if possible, or are you only interested in presenting digitally?

    Talk Title (Required)
    Make it short and snappy (or our marketing team will cry).

    128 characters remaining.

    Interpretation of the Theme: Unexpected Alchemy (Required)
    How does your story fit in with the bigger picture? We want to know how your talk interprets and resonates with the theme.

    1000 characters remaining.

    Type of talk (Required)
    Play by Play is a single track conference, but if you imagine for a moment that we had multiple streams, what would your talk sit under?
    ArtAudioBusiness / MarketingCultureGame DesignHumourNarrativeProgrammingTechnologiesOther

    Key Takeaways (Required)
    In bulleted list form, what tangible lessons or tips can attendees take away from your talk? What things will they be able to use from your talk to put into practice after they leave Play by Play?

    500 characters remaining.

    Talk Summary (Required, 280 char max)
    How would you succinctly describe what you're going to speak about? This will go in the conference programme, to make our attendees feel like your talk is one that cannot be missed!

    280 characters remaining.

    Talk Length (Required)
    40 minutes30 minutes15 minutes5 minutes (micro talk)

    Extra Information
    Any plot twists or easter eggs you want to share? Please use this section to describe any specific technical needs, accessibility needs, or anything else we should know about your application.

    1000 characters remaining.

    Code of Conduct (required)