Gaming Area - What we did in one year!
What started as the Retro Gaming & Chill Area at the Waterkant in 2016 is now an important part of the festival, representing a creative and welcoming industry: the Gaming Area.
We humans play, it doesn’t matter how old you are or where you’re from, and we play more and more video games. More than half of the population (in Germany) are considered ‘gamers’, without including the casual gamers. So we figured in 2017, that we need to represent that growing industry at the Waterkant Festival.
Easier said than done! A lot of people in Germany, and Schleswig Holstein, play games, but only a tiny fraction actually develops games oder similar things. One reason for that is that there is basically no funding for this industry, compared to other countries that recognize the financial, fiscal and creative benefits of the gaming industry and its developers. Another reason is that gaming still comes with a lot of prejudice: gamers are young, male, lazy and are hard to excite for other things than their favourite game. But that is simply not true, as many studies have found out.
So the first task back in 2017 was to find game development studios from Schleswig-Holstein, who are able to showcase their game in the gaming area. We found one or two, but had to rely on other studios from Bremen and Hamburg (established KING Art and young and upcoming Supyrb) to share their games and knowledge in sessions and workshops.
A few months after the Waterkant in 2017 a few more independent game studios from Kiel seemed to emerge and the initiative IF(game)SH was founded. With the help of opencampus we built an environment, where students and interested people could come together to learn about the development of games and to share their ideas. So we had the perfect ground for this years Gaming Area.
KING Art and Supyrb were at the festival for the second time. But this time they shared the booths with four indie studios from Kiel, each with their own style of game. Storyyeller Games and Off The Beaten Track showcased their story-heavy games, with moral decisions and grown-up messages. Virtual Foosball presented the concept of the popular foosball table, only digital. And a team of young students from the FH Kiel came to us last minute with the perfect game for a festival, a local multiplayer that caused quite a stir when people played against each other. Together with another well known studio from Halle, Ratking, we felt like we had a good presentation of the gaming industry in Germany and what is now developing here in Schleswig-Holstein.
For our session choices we also had quite a good mix: every topic thats know hot and fresh in the gaming industry was touched on. From female representation in gaming and esports, art styles and narrative game design to a post-mortem of a successfully ended Kickstarter campaign – in 2017 KING Art presented what they’re going to do with their Iron Harvest campaign and in 2018 they shared how they managed to be the most successful Kickstarter campaign in Germany with over $1,500,000.
Another #volunteer #reunion! Marilena and @jens108, two @Devcom_conf @quovadis_conf veterans, just bumped into each other at the @waterkant_sh festival in #Kiel! Both are exhibiting their games for @OffTheBtnTrack and @KingArtGames #gamedev #indiedev pic.twitter.com/s3mN4UiihF
— The Volunteer Experience™ (@TheVolunteerXP) June 14, 2018
Another fun fact is that although we invited everyone because of a different reason, some people knew each other from other gaming conventions, volunteer programs or topics of research.
So, together with the gaming booths, the sessions, retro games that were enjoyed by young and old and a comprehensive video game history gallery we hope we achieved a good representation with the Gaming Area at the Waterkant Festival in 2018 of what’s happening right now in Schleswig-Holstein with the growing gaming industry, but also what we need to do to not lose the focus.