Houston; we have t-shirt 2

Filed under: Blog » Marketing in September 2, 2013, by Ulf Benjaminsson. Print This

What exactly is game design? What do you teach in your programs? What is it that you do?
Questions we get more often than we want. And now we have an answer in physical form.

New T-shirts 2013

What is it that we do? We…

  • … build worlds
  • … tell stories
  • … engage audiences
  • … empower players
  • … provide escapism
  • … make dreams

These things and many many more, are all part of our programs and in the subject of Game Design.

Hope you like these. Add your own “game design is x” in the comments!

And check out our previous t-shirt design here. And as always; Game Design students can sign up to let us restock on t-shirts.

Equalising the Industry

Filed under: Blog in July 5, 2013, by Ulf Benjaminsson. Tagged: GGC 2013, inclusion
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Gotland Game Conference 2013 Flyer
In possibly the most important piece you’ll read on Gamasutra in 2013, the editorial staff of the Game Developer magazine shared their view of current trends and the future of the international games industry. They dedicate an entire page to “New Voices for Video Games”.

What they say carries such an overwhelming synchronicity with what we do that we’re simply going to let them speak for us. We’ve quoted the entire page here, adding links to the lectures we had at the Gotland Game Conference a month ago.

Over the past year we’ve seen conversations about inclusion, diversity, and the game industry pop up at trade shows and conferences, on web sites, forums, Twitter, and just about everywhere else. This is – as Sheri Graner Ray reminded us – not a new conversation, though it is perhaps louder now than it has been in recent memory.

The annual Game Developer Magazine’s Salary Survey pegs the gender ratio in the game industry at about 89 percent male, give or take a point or two. For comparison’s sake, a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce called “Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation” found that women held 24 percent of STEM jobs (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and 27 percent of jobs specifically categorized as “computer science and math.” The game industry’s gender ratio is twice as bad as the overall STEM fields’ ratio.

This is a problem. There is no legitimate normative reason why creating video games should be overwhelmingly a function performed by men. Fortunately, we’re beginning to see the barriers to creating, distributing, and playing games come crumbling down, which has given rise to quite a few new groups of people making and playing games. What’s more, these new voices in video games are often making games for themselves and each other, which serves to expand the medium’s potential both from a creative aspect (discovering new messages and mechanics) and a business aspect (popularizing video games as an entertainment form to new consumer demographics, and deepening games’ reach for a higher yearly per-person spend). It’s good for everyone, and it’s good for games.

The barrier to entry isn’t technical; it’s cultural. We take it as a basic truth that people get into our educations and this industry in order to make games that they themselves would like to play. When the industry is historically composed of young men making games for other young men to play, you end up creating a culture around the medium that is also by men, for men. And, at its worst, this culture can be insular, defensive, exclusionary, and downright nasty when prodded to change its ways. Thus far, games have done an excellent job of making money. As an industry, we’ve eclipsed both recorded music and Hollywood — but as a medium of mass communication it still isn’t taken very seriously.

As long as game development is primarily the domain of young men, we don’t see this changing significantly.

At the Gotland Game Conference 2013 we framed this conversation strictly in terms of gender, but the same is true for sexuality, race, economic class, and so forth. It’s no coincidence, I think, that criticism of game industry’s same-ness, particularly in the triple-A mainstream, has continued to grow louder as we’ve seen more not-white, not-male, not-straight, not-middle-class people start to make games. And when I look at the devs that are admired within the industry — the people who do the creative work that inspires us to do better — I’m seeing that more of these folks are the not-white, not-male, not-straight, not-middle-class people who are gradually making games their medium, too.

As a trend, we expect this to continue in fits and spurts, and we’re looking forward to that. However, it would be negligent to assume that this trend will continue without asking that people continue to work hard to make the game development community more supportive and welcoming.

We all owe it to ourselves, our colleagues, and our community to make video games as accessible and open as possible, however we can. This could mean initiating and encouraging institutional changes, system design and ideological shifts to further break down these walls; or, perhaps, we can just start by scrutinizing our own individual behavior and attitudes and systematically eliminating the ones which may cause ourselves or our colleagues to behave like assholes despite our best intentions.

Gotland Game Conference 2013 was us, publicly, joining the conversation. Of saying out loud what we have been teaching. But it was just the opening. To just run a conference and rest on our laurels would be tantamount to doing nothing at all. Anyone can run their mouth off, but things have to change.

So our second line in the conversation is joining Genusföretagarna – allowing us to learn from people who have direct knowledge and understanding of gender inequality issues, and ways of combating them.

And our third is joining the Swedish Game Industry-group. This gives us a wider platform to share what we know, and to present this information to a wider audience – outside of academia.

So. We’ve just started talking. Why not have a conversation with us?

Pwning the Swedish Game Awards!

Filed under: Blog » Publicity in June 21, 2013, by Ulf Benjaminsson. Tagged: GGC 2013, swedish game awards
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Oh, you didn’t attend the Swedish Game Awards Ceremony 2013?

Let us fill you in: there were 95 entries from almost every game education in the country this year. Three teams from Gotland University.

Guess how many of ours were awarded?

All of them!

Read that again with me. All. One hundred percent success rate. One, zero, zero percent.

Our slightly disturbed game design maestro, Marcus Ingvarsson, were so kind as to record the proceedings. Here’s his compilation of the important bits – when our student projects King of the Thrill, Little Warlock and Fly or Die received their awards in Stockholm last night.

And as if that’s not enough, we had GAME Alumni and two time Game of The Year-winner Teddy Sjöström on stage to hand out the GotY-award.

The award was given out by Teddy Sjöström, GAME alumni and two time Game of The Year-winner!

All in all, this year saw a great competition and a great event. Hot on the heels of the Gotland Game Conference I couldn’t imagine a better start of the summer. 🙂

In the quiet words of Virgin Mary: FUCKYEAH!


GGC 2013, photos and more!

Filed under: Blog in June 7, 2013, by Ulf Benjaminsson. Tagged: GGC 2013
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Marcus Ingvarsson: A winner is you!

We’re particularly proud of this year’s GGC.

Not only did we cover the very important issue of gender inequality in the industry, with a view on solutions, we also delivered such high quality student games, we’re sure to clean up at the Swedish Game Awards.

To try and summarise the presentations would require a post that is very tl;dr. So why not move over to our YouTube Channel and watch them all. You should do them in order, because the level of information was scaffolded, each talk building on what had come before.

We want to thank everyone for pulling this together – the speakers especially.

But, we all know what you’re here for. The pictures. So here they are.

Why not look at them while watching the presentations?

The Games Exhibition


Conference Presentations

Sheri Graner Ray

Awards Ceremony




All photos courtesy of Mats Ek, used with permission.

GGC underway

Filed under: Blog in June 3, 2013, by Ulf Benjaminsson. Tagged: GGC 2013, inclusion, outreach
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ggc is on!

Lectures are posted throughout the days on our Youtube-channel, and we are live tweeting as GotlandGAME. Join the conversation using #GGConf13!

Poster for the GGC 2013

Ernest Adams nails his dissertation!

Filed under: Blog in April 15, 2013, by Ulf Benjaminsson. Print This

In February, after nearly 18 years of thinking and writing about interactive storytelling (as well as a good many other topics), I received a Ph.D. in that subject from the University of Teesside in the UK. My thesis is called Resolutions to Some Problems in Interactive Storytelling, and it’s a retrospective and analysis of the papers and lectures I’ve given over the years. In this month’s column, I’m going to summarize a few of my conclusions.

— Ernest Adam, published on Gamasutra.

So YES! Ernest finally got to nail his doctoral thesis on campus this month!

“Spikning” (lit. nailing) is an academic ritual in connection with the submission of a dissertation. Before the dissertation thesis is published it must be made available to anyone who wants to read it and come up with criticism for the disputation. The Swedish tradition is to have the respondent ceremonially nail a copy of the dissertation to a wall, for public display.

Ernest is the second GAME staffer to drive a nail into that board in Almedalen, and the entire thesis is available for download at the bottom of this post. For a quick overview of some of the juicy bits, click through to his Gamasutra writeup.

Good job man!

Resolutions to Some Problems in Interactive Storytelling, Volume 1 [PDF]
Resolutions to Some Problems in Interactive Storytelling, Volume 2 [PDF]