PAX Aus 2017: Explore the Australian bush in Paperbark

Feature article

Do you have memories of reading Possum Magic as a kid? Images of the Australian bush as a beautiful watercolour environment full of beautiful flora and fauna and not the shocking dangerous wasteland that our beautiful country is always depicted as in mass media? Well, me too and that goes doubly so for the team at Paper House who were showing their beautiful new game Paperbark at PAX Aus this year.

I was lucky enough to speak with Paperbark’s lead artist Nina Bennett at PAX Aus while her team was showing off Paperbark in the PAX Raising Indie section of the show floor.

Nina explained how the title came about. She noted that the team wanted to show the world the Australia we see, the one we remember from our childhoods.

Paperpark follows the journey of a wombat as it explorers and traverses the Australian Bush. With taps, swipes and gestures onto the screen you guide the wombat around, help it past obstacles and interact with the other animals in the area.

Paperbark’s use of watercolour in it’s aesthetic is the perfect accompaniment to the beautiful tone that the game is setting, with the world opening up with more and more detail as you explore each edge of the screen and interact with the environment.

“The soft, varied colours harken back to classic Australian children’s literature…”

The soft, varied colours harken back to classic Australian children’s literature such as Possum Magic, Snuggle Pot and Cuddlepie, and will surely generate a feeling of nostalgia for those that grew up with these stories.

The game started it’s life as a major project for a few of the team members, Ryan Boulton, Nina Bennett and Terry Burdak while they were studying at RMIT and it’s fantastic to see how far it’s come from there. Even more amazing to see such a talented bunch of Australian students launching a game straight out of University.

The team, Paper House, describe Paperbark as a love letter to walking through the Australian bush, a surreal and captivating feeling of both being lost and being at home.

I highly recommend checking it out when it launches on PC & iOS in Q1 2018.