Projects
Transatlantic Gaming Summit

Games & Politics

An Interactive Exhibition of Computer Games
April 7 - May 21, 2017 in Boston & Cambridge

 

  • Killbox © Joseph DeLappe with Malath Abbas, Tom deMajo, Albert Elwin of Biome Collective © Joseph DeLappe with Malath Abbas, Tom deMajo, Albert Elwin of Biome Collective
  • Orwell © Osmotic Studios, 2016 Orwell, Screenshot: Intro © Osmotic Studios, 2016
  • Papers, Please (C) 3909 LLC Papers, Please, Document Inspection (C) 3909 LLC
  • Perfect Woman © Peter Lu & Lea Schönfelder, 2014 Perfect Woman © Peter Lu & Lea Schönfelder, 2014
  • Sunset © Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn (Tale of Tales), 2015 Sunset © Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn (Tale of Tales), 2015
  • The Cat and the Coup © Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad, 2011 The Cat and the Coup © Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad, 2011
  • This War of Mine (c) 11 bit studios, 2014 This War of Mine (c) 11 bit studios, 2014
The interactive traveling exhibition Games and Politics presented 16 playable digital games that cover a wide range of political topics. In addition to trying out the politically-ambitious games from the past twelve years, visitors could view an introductory film about the exhibition and three mini-documentaries on additional games. An accompanying exhibition catalog provided background information on these independent games and their unifying concepts.

The exhibtiion was presented in three locations in Boston and Cambridge:
  • in the context of the German American Conference at Harvard (Boston, April 7-8)
  • at the MIT Stata Center (Cambridge, April 10-14)
  • at the Boston Cyberarts Gallery (Jamaica Plain, April 21 - May 21)
 
  • Games & Politics © Mark Roemisch
  • Games & Politics © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Games & Politics © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Games & Politics © Mark Roemisch
  • Games & Politics © Mark Roemisch
  • Games & Politics © Mark Roemisch
  • Games & Politics © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Games & Politics © Mark Roemisch
  • Games & Politics © Mark Roemisch
  • Games & Politics © Mark Roemisch

German game designer Lea Schönfelder, creater of Perfect Woman, one of the exhibited games, shared her insights at the Cyberarts Gallery exhibtiion opening. At three well-attended Game Nights that followed, we heard from three local experts: George Fifield (new media curator), Jeff Warmouth (media artist, professor at Fitchburg State U) and Ben Houge (composer, digital artist). Scot Osterweil (creative director of Education Arcade at MIT) presented enlightening thoughts on the relation between games and politics at the MIT Stata Center vernissage.

Exhibition Description
Computer games can be seen as political statements, entertainment or art depending on the context. Games and Politics examines how computer games unfold their political potential. In the exhibited games, players experience the contingencies of political decision-making itself (Democracy III) and witness social injustices. The games address precarious labor conditions (Sunset) and gender issues (Perfect Woman), the surveillance state (Touchtone), the consequences of armed conflicts (This War of Mine), the treatment of refugees (Escape from Woomera) and revolutions against totalitarian systems (Yellow Umbrella). Adopting the characters of often-marginalized people such as a border official, housekeeper, drone pilot or war survivor, players experience limited possibilities and negative sanctions through both the character and the game play.
 
This exhibition is organized by the Goethe-Institut in cooperation with the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien in Karlsruhe).
 

  • Opening inspiration Photo: Goethe.Institut Boston

48-Hour Game Jam: Art, Politics and Games

 May 19-21, 2017 at the Goethe-Institut Boston

 

  • Inspiration zu Beginn © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Teambuilding © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Input © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Brainstroming © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Skype Gespräch mit Jakarta © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Arbeitsprozess © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Arbeitsprozess © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Arbeitsprozess © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Team © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Arbeitsprozess © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Präsentation der Games © Goethe-Institut Boston



Game developers, programmers, artists, musicians, thinkers and other creatively-minded individuals moved into (literally!) the Goethe-Institut Boston for 48 hours to develop digital games relating to art and politics . Facilitated by Riad Djemilli of  Maschinen-Mensch, an award-winning indie game developing studio in Berlin, the 34 participants digested a series of inspirational talks and films, split up into groups and proceeded to develop 11 games based on the secret theme 'unrealities'. Following presentations and play-testing, three winning games were chosen by a local jury at the end of the jam.

Congradulations to all participants for the high-quality, extreemly diverse games presented on Sunday evening.

Check out the 11 resulting games here! Get to know the winning teams here!
Background Info
The federal Foreign Office funded project ART GAMES takes place at eight stations of the exhibition across the world and encourages the creation of games within 48 hours that go beyond the demands of the mainstream. In each location one team/idea is chosen by a jury to receive mentoring by a renowned expert and presented in Germany in 2018. The game jams take place in Mexico City, Seoul, Jakarta, Boston, Novosibirsk, São Paulo, Athens and Ho Chi Minh City.

ART Games is a project of the Goethe-Institut in cooperation with Maschinen-Mensch and is sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

  • Opening inspiration Photo: Goethe.Institut Boston

PAX East: March 10-12 in Boston

  • Gruppenphoto © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Pax Overview © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Gameplay © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Win a Trip to Gamescom © Goethe-Institut Boston
  • Stand © Goethe-Institut Boston


The PAX East and our Transatlantic Gaming Summit Quiz have ended. A big THANK YOU to all 1000 participants! Who is the lucky one to go to Gamescom in Cologne? Watch the clip to find out!

 
Video wird geladen
Gamescom © Goethe-Institut Boston At this year's PAX East (2017) you had the chance to meet German Game Designers at our booth, who presented their games and studios. In addition to cool merchandise, like authentic German Haribo gummybears, flyers, buttons and stickers, you got to play various interesting new games from Germany! You even had the chance to win a trip to the world's largest games-expo in Cologne, Germany!
 

Our gamers, designers and producers included:
  • Björn Bartholdy from Cologne Game Lab
  • Riad Djemeli from Mensch Maschine
  • Andreas Zecher from Spaces of play
  • Kevin Glaap from Goodwolf Studio
  • Utz Stauder from Cologne Game Lab
  • Onat Hekimoglu from SLOW BROS.
  • Mareike Ottrand from Studio  Fizbin
  • Thorsten Harmdorf from BIU
  • Sebastian Bulas from Threaks
  • Josef Vorbeck from Chasing Carrots

Information on Guests and Games
Information on PAX East
 

Crossing the Atlantic

  • Visiting the Boston Indies © Goethe-Institut
    Visiting the Boston Indies
  • Visting gamescom, Cologne © Goethe-Institut
    Visting gamescom, Cologne
  • Tim Loew, Director Mass Digi, in Cologne © Goethe-Institut
    Tim Loew, Director Mass Digi, in Cologne
  • at a break from gamescom © Goethe-Institut
    at a break from gamescom
  • visiting Harmonix in Boston © Goethe-Institut
    visiting Harmonix in Boston
Is the grass really greener on the other side of the Atlantic? Couldn’t hurt to find out… The Transatlantic Gaming Summit lets gamers from Boston attend the world’s largest games expo – the Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. One month later six German gamers travel to Boston and Cambridge, visiting MIT, Harmonix, the Indie Collective and the Festival of Independent Games, getting acquainted with the local Boston gaming scene. To be continued …

Jamming Martin Luther

  • Luther Game Jam © Goethe-Institut
    Erste Überlegungen
  • Luther Game Jam © Goethe-Institut
    Martin Luther bei Playmobil
  • Luther Game Jam © Goethe-Institut
    Pastor Robin Lutjohann berät
  • Luther Game Jam © Goethe-Institut
    Die Organisatoren, MIT Game Lab
  • Luther game jam © Goethe-Institut
    das Spiel entsteht
500 years ago Martin Luther nailed his famous theses to the door of a church in the small town of Wittenberg in Thuringia, Germany, and thus sparked an unforeseen revolution. This anniversary offers a great opportunity to celebrate Luther’s life accomplishments. A game design workshop in September 2016 at MIT's Game Lab did just that: six invited game developers from Germany together with MIT Game Lab experts explored topics surrounding the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther and the Protestant Revolution, in particular the influence of the printing press and use of pamphlets to transmit ideas quickly and cheaply. With the advice and assistance from two experts on the history and theology of Martin Luther and the events that took place during his lifetime, our participants created six promising game prototypes. Some explored the personage of Martin Luther, others the ideas around forming belief and persuasion, and some around the transmission of ideas through printed materials. Two of the game prototypes from the workshop will now be further developed for public distribution. The games will illustrate one key system in play during Martin Luther’s life and the beginnings of the Reformation: the use of the printing press and pamphleteering as a new medium of communication.