Faites vos jeux
My Faites vos jEUx Adventure
Report by Valerie Quade, "That’s not how economics work?!"
"My ‘Faites vos jEUx’ adventure began with a FB posting on the platform #medialepfade. I applied with a covering letter in which I described why I was interested in this unconventional Gamelab and shortly thereafter got the good news that I was in."
"The first preparatory meeting, where the German participants met up and checked things out, was held in Munich. Who are we? What skills do we have? What games do we play? What are we in the mood for?
It quickly turned out that we all have different skills and that the one-week project would be a real adventure. Active gamers were included, creatives from the media and educational worlds, and also a specialist in the area of games for the handicapped. Our pros from the project direction brought practical know-how and game-specific knowledge from the business world. In this way, seminal game ideas emerged already in the first meeting, and work priorities crystallized out.
Things got exciting towards the end of March; we met the Portuguese participants for the first time. We went out to dinner in a Thai restaurant with them, and we connected gradually, but with great sincerity and warmth with the group. We discovered many things we had in common and talked past our respective languages in a mix of English, German and Portuguese, ‘that sounds so weird,’ about our work, studies and school, and after a couple of hours started singing Portuguese songs together. The day ended with a joint light painting on the backdrop of Munich’s starry night sky.
Next morning we went refreshed and filled with anticipation to the Goethe-Institut. There, our Portuguese coaches directed an intensive warm-up and introductory program, and the game developers gave us a crash course in game design. That evening, out team-internal city guides took us on a tour of Munich, after which we relaxed to karaoke in an Irish pub. During the next work phase, we began to dissect the topic of the EU, and brainstormed about interesting areas until all flip chart sheets were used up (there were a lot of sheets!).
Game ideas gradually resulted that were then rejected until four ideas were left over, which now could be worked on by four teams. Our game was an economics simulation "That’s not how economics work?!" whose main focus was avoiding food wastage and life as a greengrocer between large corporations. The other teams had very diverse game concepts, in addition to the EU travel game "The Journey," there was the crime-story board game "Who killed Europe?" and the group-dynamic multi-player game "Going Up – Climbing Together".
Through inputs, for instance on the topics of Gamelab Linz 2013, accessibility in games, effective brainstorming and serious games, the work phases were loosened up and often the contents took us a step further. There was a lot of experimentation, solutions were found and rejected, the game design was continually improved, and ultimately we could test the games on each other. The Number One Rule was: Keep it simple!
When we had the sense that the game contents had matured, the teams set to work designing the game optically – with a refinement of the game mechanics at the same time.
Shortly before the final spurt, we paid a visit to the developer studio Reality Twist in Munich, which gave us exciting and really excellent insights into the practical work of a game designer, and which also eliminated the illusions some of us had about game designing as a profession.
After the teams, following a round of street games, completed the final steps in the (still-) board games, our free day in Munich began. One team visited Dachau and the Olympia Park (which was constructed for the 1972 Olympic Games).
We were all a bit jumpy before the final presentation at the Goethe-Institut, and worked on our lecture right up to the last minute; fortunately all four ideas were very well received by the audience.
Relieved and filled with enthusiasm, we left the Gamelab to continue working on the games. The teams have planned various steps, in our case we intend to create a freely accessible PDF version to print out for use at home, in the best-case scenario an app will be developed later on."