To inaugurate our 2011/2012 event series on gaming, swissnex San Francisco offers a peek into the Swiss computer gaming industry with a small expo in parallel with the Game Developers Conference (GDC).
During the GDC, where a Swiss booth highlights the nation’s top game innovators, our event space becomes a de facto arcade with ready-to-play releases and recent classics from Switzerland’s professional game designers and academics.
The game developer scene in Switzerland is growing fast, with institutions like the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) bringing more and more young talent each year to a market increasingly known for high design and creative concepts. The country also hosts a string of award-winning small game producers, many in the mobile gaming market.
The titles available to test out at swissnex San Francisco include Daniel Lutz’ Colorbind, a finalist at this year’s Independent Game Festival and a recent Best Gameplay winner at the 2010 Unity3d-Award in Montreal. The mixed-reality game Gbanga is also available to test out, as is Orbital, a Bitforge production that gained instant fame as one of the apps presented by Apple’s Steve Jobs at the iPad launch in early 2010. Still more releases join a selection of the best student works from the new Game Design curriculum at ZHdK, the country’s first full-fledged academic gaming design program.
Join us throughout the week of the GDC to try out Swiss games, and come meet their creators at swissnex San Francisco on Friday March 4, immediately following GDC (RSVP Mandatory for this event).
Exhibit visiting hours February 28 – March 4, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011: 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 through Thursday, March 3, 2011: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Friday, March 4, 2011: 9:00 am to 5:00pm and 5:30pm to 10:00pm (RSVP mandatory for evening hours)
Contact us in advance if you plan to stop by the exhibit.
Evening Program for March 4, 2011
5:30 pm doors open
6:00 pm presentations by Swiss game developers
7:00 pm reception and playtime!
10:00 pm doors close
Alexandre Borloz is co-founder and CEO of HexaDec Sàrl, a company working in software development, Internet and Intranet development, game development, graphical design, and consulting. They program video games based on bio-inspired techniques in order to integrate various forms of training. HexaDec’s gaming arm aims to develop innovative computer games that integrate forms of artificial intelligence and biologically inspired computing to enhance gameplay.
Daniel Lutz is the founder of the game design company Nonverbal. He received his bachelor’s degree in Game Design at the Zurich University of the Arts in 2009 and has produced two award-winning mobile games for the iPhone, Monospace, and Colorbind. He currently works as a game designer for Electronic Arts in Montreal.
Arlette and Duncan Pond
Arlette and Duncan Pond of Crown ADAM, a game developer that started in Switzerland in 2008, represent over 40 years of combined experience in the online and casual game markets.
Duncan Pond has led or provided services on a number of successful game titles including Rachel’s Retreat (iWin), Interpol: The trail of Dr. Chaos (TikiGames), Alladin’s Chess Adventures (Disney), and The Sims, SimCity 2000, and SimCity 4 (Electronic Arts).
Arlette Pond has co-founded and led three privately held companies in the US and Switzerland. She has worked with some of the top players in the gaming business, including Maxis, Electronic Arts, The Learning Company, iPix , Mattel, and Adobe.
Matthias Sala, co-founder and CEO of Gbanga, studied computer science at ETH Zurich and at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He also completed research internships at the Siemens Smart Home Lab and Xerox PARC in Palo Alto. Sala is also the president and a founding member of the Swiss Chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and of Mobile Monday Switzerland.
Reto Senn co-founded mobile gaming company bitforge in 2004 with Andreas Hüppi. bitforge is now a leading company in the production of tailor-made client solutions and mobile applications. It’s created software for high-profile companies and brands such as Swisscom, Orange, MTV, Axe and more. Senn is responsible for bitforge’s multi-platform strategy and knows the ins and outs of mobile hardware and mobile software development.
Robbert van Rooden
Robbert van Rooden is co-founder and partner of the innovative Bern based online agency “Nothing” and responsible for concept and design of games & RIAs. With his work in manifold areas like transport, energy, tourism, finance, lottery and politics he has comprehensive experience in developing games and RIAs. Robbert van Rooden has a masters degree in media science and is a founding member of the Swiss game developers network “IGDA Switzerland chapter”.
Orbital is bitforge’s lead game, racking up honors such as the Pocketgamer Award, nominations in top-ten games of the decade lists, and included by the New York Times in their iPad app picks. It was pre-installed on all iPads and demoed during the launch of the device in early 2010. bitforge is available on iPhone, iPad, and Palm Pre and has been downloaded over 200,000 times.
Gbanga is a mobile platform for hosting an unlimited number of mixed-reality, highly immersive multi-player environments. Gbanga blurs reality with fiction and helps you connect with players through quests, challenges, and compelling, interactive stories created on-the-go. In Gbanga, you change the course of the game simply by walking and relocating in the real world
Colorbind is nominated as Best Mobile Game at this year’s Independent Games Festival (IGF), which runs in parallel to GDC 2011. IGF jurors in the mobile category have given Colorbind high marks for imbuing what appears to be a simple game with “surprisingly deep complexity,” and for blending its “original mechanism” with “lovely, lovely presentation.” Stfj’s Zach Gage has described the game as “smart, abstract, enjoyable, friendly, and meditative.”
Photo: Myleen Hollero