Gamers are all enthusiastically discussing the announcements and outcome of this week’s E3 conference in Los Angeles. But I spent time last week at a very different conference, the Gotland Game Conference at Gotland University in Visby, Sweden. Most of my photographs of the event are of Visby itself, a city built inside old castle walls and full of historical ruins and charm. But you don’t have to take my word that there was a game conference there! At GGC, I was honored to be a juror and play some very promising student projects that were created right at the school. A few of those below the jump!
A game I would be interesting in owning, but which is unfortunately not available outside of Sweden right now, is the student project Ghoulies. Ghoulies, like Google’s project Ingress, uses the GPS unit on your smartphone to transform the real world into a game world. Unlike Ingress, when you get to a hotspot, you don’t just stand there, but instead engage in an interactive real-time ghost-busting game to trap and capture ghosts. I’m already a fan of first-person tap-battle mechanics, and combined with the augmented reality feature I could see getting very addicted to a final version of this game.
More info at http://ghoultech.blogspot.se/
This student game cleaned up at the final award ceremony, taking home the highest final score from the jury. In a 2.5D sidescroller, two bots collaborate to solve puzzles in the world. The game currently relies on two-person coop gameplay on the same keyboard, so get cozy.
Playable online now (Unity Web Player) at http://cobotsgame.com/
Ström is a charmingly rendered puzzle game with a shamanistic heroine. Using the mouse, the player pulls magical energies from the environment into the shaman, and transfers them into other environmental elements to solve puzzles. As a student demo, it’s small, but it’s visually striking and could be worthy of expansion.
Soon to be a free download at http://leomastudios.com/
A browser-based collectible card game. Very cute, a bit like Magic: the Gathering if it were kid-friendly and web accessible. Won awards two years in a row both at the 2012 and 2013 conferences as well as a Swedish Game Award nomination. Currently collecting signups for open beta this year!
Signups are available now at http://www.littlewarlock.com/
King of the Thrill:
King of the Thrill was nominated for a Swedish Game Award in Best Innovation. The hook here is a simultaneous battle with up to 12 players, with no controllers required. Players just scan a QR code on their own handy smartphone to log in and play.
More info at http://kingofthethrillgame.tumblr.com/
This is just a sample of some of the games at the conference. There’s more promising Swedish indie and student games at the Swedish Game Awards site.
What I’ve been avoiding mentioning so far is that I was also invited to the conference to speak. I gave a talk about the nature of online communities and best practices for online communication. I don’t think I said anything too earth-shaking but I did manage to slip in a little mention of the Tap-Repeatedly community, and got into an extended conversation about whether or not it was okay to tell a woman to get back into the kitchen (my vote here is against).
You can watch that video here:
But if you want to hear from many other smart people, it’s worth it to check out the entire speech archive! I would say every speech was worth hearing; highlights include Heidi MacDonald on romance in games, Tom Abernathy on why diversity makes good business sense, Andrea Hasselager’s workshop on the girls’ games of Palestine, Sheri Graner Ray on inclusiveness issues in game development, but no, seriously, highlights include all the talks, I am about to list all the talks. Go, watch!
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