Regional collaboration for serious games

Universen (“The Universe”) is a magazine for Uppsala University employees. Issued six times a year, ~7100 copies are sent to the homes of all employees and other interested parties. In the first issue of 2018 our colleague Lina Sors Emilsson is interviewed about her course Product Development for Games, 15 credits (5SD952).

Lina Sors Emilsson at the Gotland Game Conference 2017
Lina Sors Emilsson at the Gotland Game Conference 2017.

The interview is unfortunately entirely in Swedish, but she’s talking about how we use this course to have game design students work with external “real-world” concerns, such as; crisis management, Gotland’s water shortage, job market access for the differently abled, and so on. For the first iteration we worked closely with Region Gotland and local industry to come up with realistic concerns and evaluate the student output.

If you’re gifted with the Germanic languages you can try reading the full interview below, or on Issuu.com. You can even browse the full Universen archive at uu.se.

The course is a part of our international Bachelor Programme in Game Design and Project Management. You can apply to the program via universityadmissions.se! The international application deadline is 15th of january, while Swedish applicants have until April 15th.

Universen nr1 2018, page 17

Help us create a “Woke award”

London-based artist Karen Palmer, on jury duty at the Gotland Game Conference 2015
The Gotland Game Conference is looking over its award categories this year. There will be many changes, but one of higher priority than most is the addition of a… “diversity award”, for lack of a better term.

We work hard in the education and with the conference to engage thoughtfully with issues like representation, gender, intersectionality and the perspectives and lived experiences of the non-[white hetero cis male]. We need an award to highlight and celebrate student projects that exhibit an especially conscientious or nuanced understanding of these issues.

But we need help:

  1. What should we call this award?
  2. What are reasonable evaluation criterias for such an award?
  3. Who (plural) should we look to invite for play testing and evaluation of the games? (the local RFSL and Pride chapters, for sure. But who’s an expert on, say, race in Sweden?)

Specifically: the department faculty, being very much mostly white and edumacated types, do not feel at all like a reasonable authority. I mean that both in terms of appropriation and in terms of perceived validity of the award. While the fight is ours to take, it is not on us to declare any sort of victory. And in terms of validity of the award – it risks being seen as self congratulatory.

So. I am currently looking for any sort of input, really. If you don’t want to discuss publicly, feel free to grab me over e-mail!

If you would like to be part of the Gotland Game Conference jury, read these instructions and submit an application. Leave a comment in the last field if you are particularly interested or suited for the diversity-perspective.

Thank you!

//Ulf Benjaminsson

Niklas Nylund, on Finnish gaming through the centuries

Niklas Nylund. Photo by Saana Säilynoja / Vapriikki Photo Archives
Niklas Nylund is a museum researcher working for the Finnish Museum of Games in Tampere, Finland. He is also working on a PhD at the Game Research Lab at the University of Tampere. He’s visiting us at the end of the month, and we’re taking the opportunity to have him share his deep knowledge and passion for the native gaming scene of our Scandinavian sister country!

Room: F20
Time: Tue 27/2, 16:00
Title: Finnish gaming from the 19th to the 21th century

The Finnish game industry is responsible for international hit games such as Nokia Snake (1997), Max Payne (2001), Angry Birds (2009) and Clash of Clans (2012). These games did not spring up overnight, however. The success of Finnish game companies is grounded on a centuries long interest in games and gaming, with a vivid gaming culture already in place in the 19th century. Researcher Niklas Nylund from the Finnish Museum of Games talks about what Finnish gaming has looked like in three different centuries.

The lecture is open to all game students on a first-come-first-serve basis!

psst… if exploration of eastern European gaming history is your jam and you want to warm up, we can highly recommend the GGC 2015 talk “(Video) Games and Information Warfare” by our old friend (and colleague of Niklas), Ave Randviir-Vellamo.

More games to San Francisco!

The 2018 Game Developer’s Conference will once again feature the alt.ctrl.GDC exhibition – an area at the GDC dedicated to games that use alternative control schemes and interactions. Applications are sent in from developers around the world, and twenty games are selected for the exhibition. Our students snagged three of those nominations for 2018, and last year we earned two spots. 🙂

Gamasutra has the complete lineup of games from all around the world, and have also begun interviewing each team.

If you are at the GDC in March, make sure you swing by, speak with our talents and try out their crazy contraptions:

Pump the Frog (7 Holy Frogges)

Pump the Frog at the Swedish Game Awards
Pump the Frog at the Swedish Game Awards

Pump the Frog is a 2d-puzzle-platformer where you control the Frog and your environment, roll, slip and squeeze around the levels, devouring any fly in your path!
Alt.Ctrl.GDC Showcase: Pump the Frog!

Yo, Bartender! (Kraken)

Yo Bartender! at the Gotland Game Conference 2017
Yo Bartender! at the Gotland Game Conference 2017

Yo, Bartender! puts you in the shoes of a modern day bartender mixing cocktails in a bustling city. Survive the night rush by mixing and serving as fast as you can while making sure you always have the orders right. For more info, read the interview – Alt.Ctrl.GDC Showcase: Yo, Bartender

Grave Call (Totally Not a Game Studio)
Grave Call is a time-based, asymmetrical multiplayer game based on communication between two players, one is buried alive and one is a police dispatcher. A phone holds clues for the coffin’s location, which has to be identified before the phone battery runs out. Check out their interview – Alt.Ctrl.GDC Showcase: Grave Call

Getting ready to be buried in the Grave Call coffin at the Gotland Game Conference 2017
Getting ready to be buried in the Grave Call coffin at the Gotland Game Conference 2017

Emergency dispatch operator, trying to locate the victim.
Emergency dispatch operator, trying to locate the victim.