This weekend the winners of the first Creative Gaming Award were announced at Hamburg during the annual PLAY creative video gaming festival. There were more than 150 submissions from over 20 countries around the world (despite the fact that the award was only open for European developers) and the PLAY15 team had to choose three games for each category. Although all games shown in the exhibition were outstanding and have a high potential, there could only be one winner in each category.
The jury consisted of six competent experts from Germany and France, each of them being excellent in what they are doing (which is quite diverse, thus, the jury was indeed qualified to choose the best game).
Anne Sauer (media pedagogue and editor), Isabelle Avers (artist, critique and author), Leif Rumbke (software developer), Mareike Ottrand (Art Director and designer), Michel Koch (Co-Game Director of Life is Strange) and Raoul Barbet (Co-Game Director of Life is Strange) discussed for four hours and eventually came up with the winners.
Most Creative Game Award
As a game developer you have to be creative in order to produce a game standing out from others, and surely every nominee has achieved that. As a player you experience games as a whole world and face creative challenges within the gameplay. We as the jury struggled to find the „Most creative game“ and discussed about the nominated games for 4 hours. You probably guessed it, I wouldn’t be standing here if we hadn’t found one in the end.
The winning team came out with a game that not only puts the player in the perspective of a protagonist with a difficult subject. They also went further and managed to merge an uncomforting emotion with the game world by distorting the perception of the environment. For all these reasons, the winner in the category „most creative game“ is „Among the Sleep“.
Have you ever wondered how little children feel when the light goes out? Among the Sleep shows you the fear and agony of a toddler after strange noises suddenly woke you up. You search the gloomy darkness for concealment and shelter. Vulnerability and fear are the main emotions that transform the game into a horror experience and which capture the player throughout the whole game. Among the Sleep was developed by Krillbite Studios from Norway.
Most Innovative Newcomer Award
Each of the nominated games is based on an innovative element. The three entries show technological innovation, conceptual innovation (with political focus) and new ways to experience artworks transferred into a virtual world.
But innovation does not always have to be directly visible. It may not only be apparent in new technology, or only in an original concept. It may also take shape during the path of development. And it may even be located in a masterly fine orchestration of all senses that leads to a gaming experience which was formerly unknown.
The jury decided to award a game that offered an experience that none of us had encountered before. It combines all the ways in which innovation can become manifest in a game.
So the winners of the most innovative newcomer award are: C. Anziger, P. Sonnleitner, D. Winter, B. Zankl, F. Peinsold for LUCID.
LUCID is an adventure that is played by using eyetrackers. The player awakes in a white room without any clues. Suddenly he hears a voice. The person seems to be friendly and promises that they could escape together from this surreal world. By looking at buttons and switches the player can expose its colour and paint a white wall in the colours of a rainbow by simply looking at it. LUCID was developed by C. Anziger, P. Sonnleitner, D. Winter and B. Zankl from Austria.
To impress the audience of PLAY – Creative Video Gaming Festival means to convince a large variety of people: young and old people, game lovers and gaming newbies, game experts and culture freaks, geeks and academics as well as teachers and students.
The winner of the Creative Gaming Audience Award includes lots of persuading characteristics: It is magical. It can be played by young and old people. It has a very sensitive interface. There are sweet animals that accompany the player. It’s about honor. It’s evolving. You can play it in your own pace. It allows you to take over another role. It combines reality and fiction. You can touch it. You can even feel your enemy.
…and in the end the game itself turns out to be a big illusion.
The Creative Gaming Audience Award goes to Elitza Todorova, Marvin Podsenek and Raphael Polte for their awesome game JOLLY JOUSTING!
Jolly Jousting is an interactive game that takes place in the middle ages. Two knights duel while being protected by a helmet and harness and riding upon theirhorses. They have to swing their lances to hit the armor of their opponent. A digital commentator is counting points and comments on the happenings that take place in front of the screen rather than inside it. Jolly Jousting was developed by Elitza Todorova, Marvin Podsendek and Raphael Polte from Germany.
Congratulations to the winners!