Game Mixer Brazil The Game Mixer Always Ends 1:1
What happens when you get together 30 game designers and leave them alone for 36 hours? Great games are created. The Game Jam was the highlight of the eight-day Game Mixer programme, for which ten Brazilian and ten German game designers and designers from independent studios gathered in response to the invitation of the Goethe-Institut in São Paulo.
Concentrated silence prevails in the auditorium of the Goethe-Institut São Paulo. Thirty game designers from Brazil and Germany have been working together in seven groups for two days and are developing computer games on “synchronicity.” If they sleep at all, they sleep on mattresses. Dwindling concentration is revived with coffee and the popular Brazilian pão de queijo. In this way, the German-Brazilian developer teams manage to produce very different game ideas within a very short time: from shrunken voodoo heads that two players need to balance on a scale, to a dance simulator in which players have to avoid dancing out of line, to German-Brazilian therapeutic soccer.
30 Brazilian und German designers get together at the Game Mixer to create new games. | Photo: Gabriel Quintão / Goethe-Institut
Playing to overcome MineiraçoFirst it was Müller, then Klose, then two by Kroos, Khedira and two by Schürrle – things could not get any worse for the Brazilian national football team, while there was celebration in Germany. The agility mini game Therapy Soccer promises nothing less than to help overcome the lingering 1:7 trauma among Brazilians from the defeat at the semi-final of the football 2014 World Cup known as Mineiraço or “the Mineirão disaster.”
“We thought about a theme that excites both German and Brazilian game enthusiasts. Football always works!” says João Victor Rodrigues, who developed the prototypes together with Ina Göring, an expert in the area of public funding from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, and Luis Eduardo Lucats from the Brazilian Studio 44 Toons.
Ten German and ten Brazilian game designers took part in the Game Mixer programme. | Photo: Anna Clara Jüngst / Goethe-Institut The idea: a German and a Brazilian squeeze into one oversized jersey and have to manoeuvre the ball together across the pitch and into the goal while avoiding obstacles like streakers, samba dancers and marching bands. “It was great fun to include as many of those clichés we have about one another as possible in the game,” explains co-designer Ina Göring. “On the personal level, however, we found our stereotypes of each other’s culture were rarely confirmed.”
All of the participants have already released their own games and are in a phase where they can particularly benefit from international contacts and exchange with other studios. The German participants are the winners and nominees of the Deutscher Computerspielpreis (German computer game prize), which is awarded once a year by the industry associations BIU and GAME and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure with support from the Stiftung Digitale Kultur. The Brazilian participants were selected from nationwide applicants by a jury of representatives from the Brazilian games industry. Brazil is one of the ten largest markets of the games industry in the world.
The participants talk with experts from the Brazilian games industry about opportunities and challenges for the German and the Brazilian games industry. | Photo: Gabriel Quintão / Goethe-Institut
“Extremely valuable dialogue”“It is great to be able to share so intensely with other developers from Germany and Brazil,” says Luiggi Refatti from the studio Fira Soft on the sidelines of the two-day Game Camp that kicked off the programme week. The Game Camp was open to interested people from all over Brazil and employed an open, participatory format. Each of the nearly 50 participants made suggestions for the one-hour sessions. In this way, a programme was created based on the knowledge and interests of the participants. The Game Camp was organized with the support of the umbrella brand Games/Bavaria. Among other things, discussions were held on how to survive as a start-up in the Brazilian and the German games industries, where game designers draw their inspiration and how to develop a game collaboratively. Linda Kruse from the Cologne studio The Good Evil was also pleased by the format, saying, “As independent studios, we face very similar challenges in Brazil and Germany, such as project financing and visibility in the global market. Everyone develops their own strategies. This makes the dialogue here extremely valuable.”
The programme ended with the 36-hour Game Jam. | Photo: Gabriel Quintão / Goethe-Institut
Seven to one becomes one to oneOf course, there was plenty of playing during the Game Mixer, as well. The run on the showcase at the Universidade Anhembi-Morumbi was huge, mostly students from the Game Design course of studies. Katharina von Ruckteschell-Katte, director of the Goethe-Institut São Paulo and regional director for South America, considers the objectives of the programme as realized. She says, “The basic idea of the 2016 Game Mixer in São Paulo, networking Brazilian and German game studios, was a great success over the eight intensive and stimulating programme days. We are very pleased that the Game Mixer could be realized as part of the promotion of creative industries by the Federal Foreign Office. It motivates us to become even more intensely, and most of all lastingly active in the field of gaming.”
The therapeutic football match from the Game Jam can be used by the Goethe-Institut in Brazil in its future cultural and language-teaching work – despite or perhaps even because of the many stereotypes it conveys. It shows how a 1:7 defeat can become a successful exchange, turning a sporting clash into a creative collaboration. Even though the German national team in Brazil became the world champions, the Game Mixer always ends 1:1.
By Anja Riedeberger, Goethe-Institut São Paulo, and Benjamin Rostalski, Stiftung Digitale Spielekultur
Game Mixer is a cooperative effort by the Goethe-Institut and the Stiftung Digitale Spielekultur, supported with special funding from the German Foreign Office to promote the creative industries. Game Mixer Brazil is the second incarnation of the networking programme. For the first Game Mixer, eleven German developers travelled to Indonesia on the invitation of the Goethe-Institut in 2015 to enter a dialogue with developers there.
Partners of Game Mixer Brazil were the Brazilian designer association Abragames, Spcine, the city of São Paulo funding agency for audio-visual media and BIG Festival, the largest festival for independent games in South America, which takes place annually in São Paulo. Game Mixer also received support from the German-Brazilian Chamber of Foreign Trade, the course for Game Design at the Universidade Anhembi-Morumbi and the Escola Britânica de Artes Criativas (EBAC).