The Nordic Ferry Tale conference

Filed under: Blog in February 16, 2014, by Ulf Benjaminsson. Print This

This weekend we attended the The Nordic Ferry Tale conference arranged by the Swedish Games Industry. Adam, Hans, Felicia and I took the ferry ride with nordic game developers from Sweden to Finland and back.

On the speaker list were people from Supercell (Clash of Clans, Hayday), Mojang (Minecraft), Grand Cru (never released anything) and (on video link from Japan) music game maker Masaya Matsuura – the man who created Parappa The Rapper!
visit to SuperCell in Helsinki

So we boarded in the afternoon in Stockholm, had dinner and crazy ferry buffé with fellow Swedish developers. Arrived in Helsinki and had breakfast with developers, before being bussed out to SuperCell’s offices in downtown Helsinki.

Then back to the boat for a few conference sessions, more crazy ferry buffét, this time with Swedish + Finnish developers.
The conference room on the ferry

Back in Stockholm in the morning Sunday, and walked up to Paradox’ offices for another bunch of talks.

But unfortunately it was three days of mostly undergraduate content. With exception of Matsuura’s talk, there was very little insight provided in the conference. Especially as the entire audience consisted of professional game developers.

SuperCell was, by far, the most basic. Two guys talked about what a great company SuperCell was to work for. They discussed their new game without ever showing it, and didn’t let us take photos of any slides due to confidentiality. The questions from the room were pretty great (how much do you spend on user acquisition?) but they went, mainly, unanswered.

The trip was not an entire bust, however. We did get to reconnect with some of our awesome alumni who also attended the conference. The ferry was comfortable, and during the traditional conference-drinking sessions I got enough down time to play through Primordia – a gorgeous, clever, and melancholic science-fiction adventure game that I highly recommend! Easily the best experience of the entire weekend. 🙂

Nordic DiGRA + GGC = true

Filed under: Blog in February 7, 2014, by Ulf Benjaminsson. Print This

The Digital Games Research Association is the premiere international association for academics and professionals who research digital games and associated phenomena.

This year, Nordic DiGRA is teaming up with Gotland Game Conference on the paradise island in the baltic sea. Running along side GGC, we will be showcasing papers on the subject of Gamification and how game systems are becoming more pervasive in every day life.

Innovation and transformation at GGC, Gamification and application of design at DiGRA Nordic.

Call For Papers
We are looking for papers for presentation at DiGRA.

Game systems are being used in many areas outside of what’s thought of as Games – from Air Miles and Supermarket Loyalty Schemes, Twitter and FourSquare, to Kahn Academy and Duolingo. But we’re also seeing game based learning, research (puzzles for science!) and, in a limited way, even in the last US Election.

We are inviting submissions for full papers and workshops. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • gamification
  • games in society
  • games and learning
  • games as propaganda
  • persuasive games
  • games in teaching
  • critical stances to gamification and game-based learning

Conference Location
The conference will be held at Uppsala University campus Gotland parallel with the Gotland Game Conference 2014. Map and information here.

Organizing Committee

  • Ulf Benjaminsson
  • Petri Lankoski
  • Harko Verhagen

Little Warlock wins award at Game Connection Europe in Paris

Filed under: Blog in January 8, 2014, by Ulf Benjaminsson. Tagged: winners 2013
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A student team from Uppsala University Campus Gotland brings home Game Connection Europe Selected Projects award “Best Social, Casual & Online”
Jerry Jonsson, Storm Potion
The team consists of Lina Tonegran and Jerry Jonsson who started up their company Storm Potion during their second year of studies at Uppsala University Campus Gotland. Their game, Little Warlock, was awarded several categories at Gotland Game Conference 2012 and 2013, then moved on to take home “Best Execution” at the Swedish Game Awards 2013.

During their third year they entered in Selected Projects, a competition where unsigned companies can send their projects for judging by an international jury. The 15 best projects, separated in 3 different categories, are then selected to take part at Game Connection Europe. On the morning of 3rd December at the Selected Projects Awards Ceremony, each of the nominees had five minutes to pitch their project in front of the publishers, distributors and investors at Game Connection Europe.

After the presentations Storm Potion was awarded the price in their category “Best Social, casual & Online”.

Storm Potion is also featured in “European Startups 2013 Edition, Volume 2” which lists the 100 most promising startups within the European game industry. The list is compiled by develop-online with association with UKIE.

Game Over / Play Again

Filed under: Blog in November 22, 2013, by Ulf Benjaminsson. Print This

We participated in Game Over / Play Again, a one day conference hosted by The National Library of Sweden, attempting to start the discussion on how to best gather, protect and make available this culture of ours. Despite having some international speakers on the list, they opted to run the entire event in Swedish – always a missed opportunity, we feel.

The panel discussion

Vad händer med våra datorspel och vilken bild av spelvärlden kommer framtiden att ha? Kommer dagens datorspel kunna spelas upp om några decennier? Vad vill vi att vår framtid ska ha för bild av datorspelens utveckling? Vilka åtgärder krävs för att bevara och tillgängliggöra dessa spel?
Vi på Kungliga biblioteket vill anordna det här heldagsseminariet i egenskap av Sveriges nationalbibliotek och nationalarkiv för ljud och rörlig bild. Vi har i vårt uppdrag att samla in, bevara och tillgängliggöra datorspel med svensk anknytning för framtida forskning. Det känns angeläget för oss att få igång diskussionen kring datorspel som en del av vårt kulturarv.

Det är hög tid att skapa ett nätverk där bransch, arkiv, museer, intresseorganisationer, utbildningssäten, forskare, upphovrättsorganisationer m.fl. kan mötas och föra diskussionen vidare.

Program för dagen

09.00 Kaffe och registrering

10.00 Presentation av moderatorn Orvar Säfström

10.15 Andreas Lange, Computerspielemuseum, Berlin

10.45 Jakob Moesgaard, Det Kongelige bibliotek, Köpenhamn

11.15 Kaffe och mingel

11.45 Ann-Sofie Sydow, Game Assembly

12.15 Åsa Anesäter, Dataspelsgruppen i KLYS

12.45 Lunch

14.00 Jon Manker, Södertörns högskola

14.30 Martin Lindell, DICE

15.00 Bensträckare

15.15 Panel – Vilken bild av spelvärlden kommer framtiden att ha?

          Per Strömbäck, Dataspelsbranschen

          Henrik Erngren Othén, Repository Lane

          Johan Andersson, Paradox Interactive

          Angelica Norgren, P3 Spel

          Thomas Sol Sunhede, privatsamlare

          Peter Du Rietz, Tekniska museet

          Åsa Roos, Avalanche

16.30 Summering

Gamex 2013

Filed under: Blog in November 4, 2013, by Ulf Benjaminsson. Tagged: gamex, outreach
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We have never done a better show than this! I designed a booth similar to this, but 6×10 meter. Håkan managed the booth’s internal layout and the student teams, while I focused on print materials, travel- & living arrangements, truck rental and planning our message. Felicia, Jerry, Adam, Marcus, Håkan and I came with from the staff. For the first time ever, we had a proper reception desk and constant staff representatives in the booth, which helped a lot!

4 of the 7 projects were first year groups. 2 of those are commercial projects (CoBots being released on Desura the day before Gamex opened). The interest from schools have never been lower. It was us, Skövde, BTH and one course presentation from KTH.

A genius move of ours was to bring our Oculus Rift.

Many, many people came to Gamex just to get a chance and try that. The “official” Oculus Rift booth (I believe it was actually PC Gamer) had *hours* of que. Since we never advertised ours, we only had 30 minutes or so at most. But it was enough to ensure our booth was constantly filled, and gave us a great, approachable audience. 🙂

King of The Thrill, one of the first year projects, is a clever browser based concept. You snap a photo of a QR code next to the monitor, and your phones browser instantly turns into a controller and connects you to the game. This team had so much fun with the people in line – often having 15-20 people simultaneously battling it out while waiting for their turn with the Oculus.

This happened a lot to our students. :)
And on that note, our teams were SO. FUCKING. GOOD. this year. Super professional. Helpful. No complainypants or slacking off at all. I was so proud of them that we arranged a spontaneous cake-party on the ferry, celebrating the good work on the way back to the island.

P4 Morgon
Svensk Indie på Gamex 2013: CoBots
Svensk Indie på Gamex 2013, King of Thrill Cobots & Tribal Marathon
GamingGrannar: King of the Thrill, Secrets of Grindia, Fly or Die
Sätrapôjk: CoBots, Secrets of Grindia
Linnéa Söderlund: Secrets of Grindia
Nö podcast: GAME och King of the Thrill (0:39:20), CoBots (1:19:20) King of the Thrill Secrets of Grindea CoBots Fly or Die Little Warlock

Game On 2.0

Filed under: Blog in October 27, 2013, by Ulf Benjaminsson. Tagged: outreach
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There was a ton of people at the premiere evening of Game On 2.0 in Sweden. Our booth was jam-packed with people the entire evening – great fun!

The exhibition has an entire room dedicated to the pre-console era. Hand helds and toys with LCD displays, crude (CRUDE) animations and ingeniously fake 3D-effects. These were amazing to get to try. They also let you play the Virtual Boy – a decently rare beast of the relatively modern games industry.

In the arcade section you could play Star Wars from 1983 (video). As a designer it’s humbling to see how they managed to distill the essence of Star Wars into something so technologically limited! And how efficient the experience is constructed! A full play through is less than 3 minutes, and sees you through a large scale space battle, intense X-Wing racing and finally the terrifying approach of the ventilation duct on the Death Star.

Saving the galaxy in less than 3 minutes!

If you ever need a definition of “aged well” – nothing will serve you better. And what a perfect argument for opening our archives and museums for games! An emulator would never convey the experience of the real deal; the fully articulated flight yoke is such a sense pleasure!

If you’re in Stockholm, set a few hours aside and go see this exhibition!