Lets Play!

Game Design and the Everyday Life

Finnish Games Then and Now, Nordic DiGRA Warmup

Arrived in Tampere around five. The Nordic DiGRA Conference starts tomorrow. This evening it was time for the Finnish Games Then and Now Exhibition produced by Annakaisa  Kultima (@aakoo) and Kati Alha.

During the past decades the Finnish game industry has produced a wide  variety of multifaceted everyday entertainment. Large media companies  and one-man enterprises alike have churned out games ranging from  Commodore 64 titles and board games to live action role-playing events  and downloadable mobile games. This whole gamut is now available for the  public to explore and experience in a unique exhibition where select  items from almost a hundred years worth of Finnish games and game design  are brought into the limelight. Many of the items on display are also  playable!

Among them of course huge ones like Angry Birds, and not so huge but very recognized as Finnish Shadowcities. But there were some news for me as well. I did not know African Star (Afrikan tähti, or as we call it in Sweden: Jakten på den försvunna diamanten) was of Finnish design! For those of my readers who are not Swedish, African Star is a board game, originally publised in 1951, it’s one of those games that everyone have played here. In it is included a bunch of secret tiles with different tresures, oe of them is the diamond African Star, and in almost all well used versions of the game I’ve seen it has tiny bite marks from tiny teeth. Something makes every kid want to chew on that star. My guess is it reminds them of how you treat gold in movies to know it’s real.

The exhibit also tried to claim Mordheim as Finnish because of a Finnish main designer, but I’m not so sure about that one. Even if the gameplay is quite different it’s to such a large extent based on the Warhammer rules that I don’t really think it counts. Dont read me wrong, defenetly counts as a game, and a rather good one, but when adding points to team Finland? Nope!

Other interesting games was a game about Finland during world war one, published in 1918, just months after it happened. There was also a (really old) computer game about fur farms, where you played the farmer, shooting at political activists trying to free your animals. As described, based on a true story, although nobody died in the real incident.

Over all a nice exhibit, with a lot of playable games. Also some nice discussions, among them Jonas Linderoth (@JonasLinderoth) pushing me to describe and clarify what my thesis will be about. Always a bit hard and scary to turn thoughts into words on the spot, but I think I managed quite well, maybe even cleared some things out for myself (that’s the good thing about words instead of thoughts) and I got some good knowledge back from him. So, thank you for that!

As stated in the beginning, tomorrow the conference starts for real. I will try to get some updates done (but you probably know how bad I am at prioritizing that). Something special you would like me to look for, or someone special you want me to ask something to?


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