gameZfestival & gameZ&ruleZ
4.-6. november 2016 
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The growing importance of game design for virtual and real-world contexts raises the question of structure and design of rules for game, play, art, technology and urban culture. The conference on "Gamez & ruleZ" at "Kunstraum Walcheturm" in Zurich, Switzerland, intends to explore and discuss these relationships from october 2 - 4, 2015.

[Download Abstracts & Bios as PDF ]

Program: Friday, 2. October

10.30 Opening of Conference
11.00 Keynote 1 – Carlo Fabricatore (United Kingdom): What are Game Mechanics?
12.00 Lunch
13.00 (Input) René Bauer: Zurich Game Mechanics Manifesto Glimpse
13.30 Staffan Björk (Sweden): Overview of Game Design Patterns
14.30 Wolfgang Walk (Grumpy Old Men): From MDA to DDE - necessary enhancements on a comandable Design Framework
15.30 Coffee
16.00 Renzo Thönen (Giants): Game Mechanics of the Farming Simulator
17.00 Mischa Geiser (Koboldgames): Guidance Systems for Journey of a Roach
18.00 Opening of exhibition "ruleZ for the magic circle"
19.00 [gameZFestival combined] Don Schmocker: FAR
20.00 [gameZFestival combined] Florian Faller, Adrian Stutz (Bits & Beasts): Feist
22.00 [gameZFestival combined] BigScreen Party Games witht Air Console!

Program: Saturday, 3. October

09.30 The Maze as Game Mechanic: Coffee in a topology of madness
10.00 Input & Panel: Reward and Punishment in Cities or what Game Designers think of Cities as Games
11.00 Annika Waern (Sweden): Game Mechanics of Pervasive Games
12.30 Guided Tour of exhibition with curators and game designers
13.00 Lunch
14.30 Keynote 2 – Jesper Juul (Denmark): The Art of Failure in Games.
17.45 [gameZfestival combined] Anja Fritsch (GameLab): Presentation of the creative card set "Ideas For Games"
18.00 [gameZfestival combined] Tabea Iseli, Jeremy Spillmann (Blindflug): Cloud Chasers
20.00 [gameZfestival combined] Luke Whittaker, Katherine Bidwell (State of Play Games, UK): Lumino City
21.00 [gameZfestival combined] Phillip Weber (CD Project Red, Poland): Quest Design for The Witcher


You can join the gameZfestival evening program.

Program: Sunday, 4. October

You can join the gameZfestival.

Exhibition: ruleZ for the magic circle [combined with gameZfestival]

Friday, 2. Oct Opening + 18:00 - 24.00
Saturday, 3. Oct 10:00 - 24.00
Sunday, 4. Oct 12:00 - 19.00

Highlights: Ideas for Game (Game Creation Set), TennisForTwo(thousand), LSD (Logic Dream Simulator), Installation "Magic Circles" [...]

Games are control systems that are exceptionally motivating. From simple motivational techniques such as clearing or aligning game designers develop cybernetic control systems (such as Tetris) that are gradually getting more complex. The simplest and most complete control system in game mechanics is the continual challenge for the player and his avatar. The game provides the player with a specific challenge: In Tetris falling blocks and overflowing containers. And it offers opportunities for action to tackle the problem. In Tetris you can move and rotate the blocks. In a next step the game evaluates the player's decision. The game rewards correct decisions. In Tetris a line disappears, you get positive sound, points and more playtime. However the game punishes wrong decisions. In Tetris you get an obstructed situation, gloomy sounds, and game over. As a player, if you are perfectly challenged, conservatively punished and well rewarded you may feel like floating through the game (Flow, Csíkszentmihályi/Scheurer).

But games not only differentiate short-term game mechanics (micro mechanics), they also define a long-term game mechanism (macro mechanics). This macro game mechanics motivates for hours, if not for days or weeks. This is where progression strategy or narrative strategies are often used. It can be in form of new (visual) worlds as in games like Tearaway, LSD Logic Dream Simulator or Lumino City; in form of new challenges (new elements in Chips Challenge, further level development in Ikaruga or Feist and change in game mechanics); in form of superior comparison (high score); and/or story as in The Witcher, Lumino City and The Last of Us.

By accepting and processing these rules on the computer and via commitment and interaction of the player, the game and its world become a magical reality. This new reality forms a magic circle where only the rules of the game apply (Huizinga). In this circle it is possible to fly (REZ), to save your cities from nuclear missiles (Missile Command), to destroy worlds (Ikaruga), or to color worlds (Wizball) – and you can even rise from the dead (Golden Axe).

It remains uncertain though if the player acquires the rules that were designed for him. The question remains: Does the player encounter the intended game experience or does he awaken entirely different mechanisms to life as in games like FAR and LSD Logic Dream Simulator?

Download Exhibition-Description & Gamography (10MB) >


Free exhibition & talks. Feel free to come and discuss.


Twitter: @gamelabch
Twitter Hash: #gamezandrulez
Phone: 079 364 33 72


October 2 - 4, 2015, International Conference "Gamez & ruleZ" at Kunstraum Walcheturm Zurich, Switzerland, organized by the management of the Game Lab, Beat Suter and Renè Bauer and the master's program Game Design, Mela Kocher; along with game design master students at the Zurich University of Arts, Department of Design (ZHdK).