Playing Politics: emergent opportunities at the edges of games and culture – Up The Game

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Playing Politics: emergent opportunities at the edges of games and culture

Georg Hobmeijer

“In this talk I would elaborate how a specific project came together and how we gathered a team with a truly interdisciplinary background: developers with digital game expertise, veteran writers from the theatre realm and an Apple Award winning graphic designer that was talked into becoming a scenographer for this project. I personally think that the cultural realm, in particular in the German speaking regions, offers unique opportunities for such mixed reality projects. These institutions have budgets, a desperate need to reach out to a younger audience and recently discovered their interest in digital & playful media. Which could potentially also be of interest for escape room designers as well.

I should also mention that our work very often focuses on political and social topics. Over the years, we have become experts in this, in particular on migration and refugee affairs. This is very much reflected in our digital single player games, for some of which we cooperated with NGOs. In this particular project politics was both a central concept, but also used in a more casual and ironic way than in our more documentary game formats. I personally think that entertainment doesn’t need to shy away from real life, something that film and television has understood since decades. In games we often shy away from this. This is something we try to change without work.

The third aspect would be a technical one. In “Vienna All Tomorrows” we prototyped a multiplayer Augmented Reality solution for numerous devices. We are currently re-working this with the support of an Austrian research and development grant to make the prototype’s concept into a mixed reality framework. For importantly, this can use ordinary handheld devices, but is essentially made for the upcoming generations of AR glasses. We had the experience that creating technology from scratch for each project is a costly strategy, hence the framework. This could be particularly interesting for designers that are working with emergent immersive technologies.

As already mentioned, we already gave a few talks on the subject already (Goethe Institute Rome, Theater Dortmund, Szigetfestival Budapest, a.o.), but would of course be happy to adapt those to the visitors of Up The Game, in particular to incorporate our ongoing mixed reality research.”

About Georg Hobmeijer

Georg is a performance artist turned game designer that has been prowling the European cultural jungles for half his life. With his company Causa Creations he works on unique political games and mixed reality experiences in close collaborations with NGOs, museums and theatres. Sometimes, he really needs a break from that and works as a narrative designer for commercial and educational games.
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