Swedish crowd sourcing initiative results in game with no winners

Creativity is likely to be the biggest competitive advantage in the new global economy. Sweden recently applied this insight to one of its fastest growing creative exports – video games – in order to create a game that celebrates unseen ideas from the gaming community. The result – several games where the element of winning has been eliminated in favour of non-traditional gameplays focused on environmental exploration and cooperation. On the Swedish national day June 6th the games will be presented on Democreativity.com.

Sweden recently launched Democreativity.com, an online platform that crowdsources creative game ideas based on what gamers would like to see more of. All in all, people from 126 countries took part and from the ideas generated it was clear that gamers were looking for something new. Namely that winning wasn’t the main goal as gamers wanted to see games that focused on exploring the story, fantasy environments and cooperation – non-gameplay elements in many of today’s top selling games.

Game development students at the Swedish University of Skövde were given a brief that summarised the biggest trends from the suggestions and then spent two months developing games based on this brief. Now, Sweden is presenting the games on Democreativity.com. One common denominator in all these games is the way they offer the player a way into a world where nothing is expected of you – it’s the player’s curiosity that frames the game.

The game Welcome Back focuses on exploring, the story being that of a female journalist entering a house to look for a missing girl. However, while getting more and more information throughout the game the player realises that things might not be what you initially thought. The uncertainty is a big part of this game that uses a non-traditional game logic – there are no levels or opponents to beat. The game has already been nominated to the Swedish Games Awards 2014.

Räv (Fox) is a game set in a dystopian future that explores the new world through the eyes of a little boy and his companion, a fox made of shadows. While you are trying to discover what this strange new world is all about, the game asks questions about what is real and what is not, and how to cope with the inherent loneliness in all of us.

Another common denominator amongst the ideas submitted to the site was that gamers were requesting a greater measure of cooperation. In Lunch Lady Simulator, players can work together to control a pair of hands serving food. Between you, you need to solve the problem in order to advance in the game.

“We have reached a point in the evolution of the gaming industry where we are evaluating the fundamental definition of a game. Where does it end? Where does it start? And where is it taking place? There is a fascinating balance between games with a purpose and games without this. We can see that exploring and fun are two key concepts at the heart of a game, but pretty much everything else is open to debate,” says Per Strömbäck, spokesperson for the Swedish Games Industry and member of the Democreativity advisory board.

All the games are available at Democreativity.com

Democreativity is an initiative from VisitSweden, the Swedish Institute and Business Sweden.
The aim is to create a forum for inspiration and to provide a showcase for underrepresented ideas in order to promote Sweden’s openness, creative enterprises and democratic values. The ideas from the site have been analysed by an advisory board made up of several leading representatives from the gaming industry and gaming culture (for more information on the advisory board please see Democreativity.com/about). The project has already attracted attention worldwide via Twitter and other leading media outlets.

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