PlayBern – Utopia
21-24 October 2021
PlayBern is a festival of games and culture. Under the theme Utopia, this year’s edition will feature events, contests and workshops, with the focus on creative, playful projects and barrier-free gaming.
Pro Helvetia supports the realization of two workshops and a game jam:
- Workshop “Disability and Game Design”, with Chris Solarski
Friday 22 October, from 10 am to 1 pm
Chris Solarski will conduct a game design workshop around the theme of disability, based on his “Interactive Empathy and Embodiment” (IEE) method. The method is an innovative, sensory design approach to game design and interactive media that is founded on traditional art techniques (and inputs from acting theory, neuroscience, psychology, disability aesthetics, etc.) to heighten the player-audience’s physical and emotional experience of gameplay. In the context of disability, the method will be used to explore non-conventional approaches to interactivity, with the aim of broadening the aesthetic scope of games. The workshop is a design-oriented event, so no programming skills are needed and all skills levels are welcome – from beginner to advanced.
- Workshop “Make your own Experimental Hardware Game”, with Robin Baumgartner
Friday 22 October, from 2 to 5 pm
In this workshop Robin Baumgartner will help the participants build their first experimental hardware game, entirely without programming! With the use of BBC Micro:bit, LED light strips, participants will learn how to use different sensors to experiment with unusual in- and outputs and make a new alternative controller game with them.
- “Utopian Game Jam”, organized by Oleg Lavrovsky/ Echtzeit
Kick-off Game Jam: Thursday 21 October at 6 pm
Checkpoint Alpha: Friday 22 Octotber at 6 pm
Checkpoint Beta: Saturday 23 October at 6 pm
Presentations: Sunday 24 October at 1 pm
According to the World Health Organization, about 15% of the world’s population has some kind of impairment which may restrict access to games. During a 24-hour hackathon, the festival aims to raise awareness of this by making video game concepts and prototypes that are especially accessible, addressing a range of physical and mental disabilities. “Utopian” new games will be conceptualized, designed, published and played on-site and on itch.io – a global platform for independent game developers.