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gameZfestival.ch 2.o

international festival for games & gamedesign

make it! understand it! play it! 19./20./21. september

kunstraum walcheturm kanonengasse 20 zurich alias zureich

gameZfestival is a festival for game design and games. The initial Festival was all about game mechanics.  This year's dominant topic is "play together". The first video games were all multiplayer games, from Spacewar and TennisForTwo to Pong. The game was the Tabula Rasa that featured odd rules. With Breakout the opponent was replaced by levels. And video games ignited the second stage and developed further on. Today, the multiplayer is back in all its variants: Playing together in the living room or over the Internet in MMOS.

Highlights of this year are: Dutch designer Joost van Dongen, who has developed the extraordinary Multiplayer game Awesomenauts for Ronimo Games. The Canada Swiss Daniel Lutz, who produced the game Hitman Go  for Square Enix in Montreal. The Swede Krister Karlsson with a revival of an Amiga Game of 1993 and the London German Reiner Knizia as trendsetting inventor of board and card games.


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festival programm 2014

gameZfestival 2.0 is three days of talks, international guests, panel discussions and OpenMics on the topic "Play Together!". The exhibition "1st vs. Multiplayer" is open daily, admission is free. Friday evening is dedicated to the videogame arcade and the 80s/90s games. Saturday is the day for the indie scene and a multiplayer night. And on Sunday we continue with hybrid games and the question of transfer of board game to online game or app.


Eröffnung Ausstellung
[German & English]
Opening Festival
Spielen in den Spielsalons der 1980er
Ivo Vasella, Owner der Arcade- und Flippersammlung Outlane, Zürich (CH)

In 1998 Ivo Vasella founded the Outlane together with two friends. The Outlane is a collection of pinball machines and video game arcade machines all still working. His "flippers" form a playable history of the entire development of pinball machines. He also collects the most important video game machines and has more than 100 game boards - all in great condition! In his presentation Ivo Vasella leads us back through the history of the arcade and into the video-arcades of the 1980s, where you were able to use some small change to play for a whole evening with or against each other.

1993 Space Machine
Krister Karlsson, Game Designer, Stockholm (SWE)
supported by GameLab ZHDK

In 1993 a group of four Swedish teens developed a space shooter game for Amiga. The game was never finished and soon forgotten. 20 years later, one of the members from the original four found the 3,5 floppy that the game was saved on and decided to fire up his old computer and see if it still worked. And the game was exactly as yummy as it was in 1993. So Krister Karlsson decided to finish it and put it as 1993 Space Machine on Steam Greenlight.

Swiss Games Trailers 2014
supported by GameLab ZHDK

Swiss Game Design is alive and prospering! gameZfestival presents a selection of Swiss games that were published in 2013 and 2014. Selection and film were created specifically for gameZfestival 2.0 by Philomena Schwab and Andi Halter.

Play with the Designers!
[English & German]
Krister Karlsson, Joost van Dongen, Daniel Lutz, Jeremy Spillmann, Robin Bornschein, Dominic Müller, Philomena Schwab, Tabea Iseli, Andi Halter, ...


12.00 +
Exhibition: "Last man standing: 1st vs multiplayer"
Philomena Schwab, Beat Suter, René Bauer, Max Moswitzer
supported by Ludicious & Gamelab ZHDK
Selfie Game
Mark Butler, Kulturwissenschaftler, Berlin (DE)
supported by GameLab ZHDK

The artist and media theorist Margarete Jahrmann presents Mark Butler. The cultural scientist and computer game  researcher from Berlin has published a book with the title "Das Spiel mit sich" (2014) in which he thoroughly examines popular techniques of the self at the beginning of the 21st century.  Against this background he will focus on "Selfie Games" and playful self-relations for the gameZfestival. Afterwards there is a panel with Margarete Jahrmann. And later in the evening the #selfiegame14 Award will be held.

Indies in action
Indie Scene Austria
Jogi Neufeld, Manager von Subotron, Wien (A)
supported by GameLab ZHDK

Jogi Neufeld has been running Subotron, a game store and cultural meeting place in Vienna's museums' district, for ten years. Of the numerous events and workshops that he organized, he knows the Viennese and Austrian indie scene very well. He is now regarded as an important incubator of this scene. Jogi Neufeld presents the Viennese indie scene and makes cross-comparisons with Switzerland and Germany.

Best of Fantoche Workshop
Livio Lunin, gamelab zhdk, Zürich (CH)
supported by Fantoche

Livio Lunin and the individual designers present the best projects of the workshop at the International Animation Festival Fantoche 2014. The projects are games that are created by game designers and animators in joint work.

Open Game Mic
[German & English]
Indie Game Prototypes

Swiss Indie Game Designers present their (new) projects in five minutes.

Reserve a slot here > 

My Favourite
[German & English]
Jeremy Spillmann, Reto Senn, Dragica Kahlina, Daniel Sciboz

We start a new talk format on "My favourite Game but not my own". René Bauer presents Jeremy Spillmann (BLINDFLUG), Reto Senn (BITFORGE), Dragica Kahlina (GLUGGERGAMES, GAMESPACE), Daniel Sciboz (HEAD Genéve) and Jan Graber (20Minuten), four game designers and a journalist who talk about a selceted aspect of their favourite game  > 5 times 10 minutes on "My Favourite Game Aspect"

Game Design Keynotes
Hitman Go and FOLT
Daniel Lutz, Square Enix, Montreal (CAN)
supported by Game Design ZHDK

During his game design studies at the ZHDK Daniel Lutz always claimed the game Hitman in itself is nothing but a puzzle game. It would not need all the explicit violence. With the production of Hitman Go for iPhone/iPad and Android at Square Enix, he has now proven this more than clear! In his presentation Lutz talks about the development of Hitman Go and his own new puzzle game FOLT.

Joost van Dongen, Ronimo Games, Utrecht (NL)
supported by Game Design ZHDK

Joost van Dongen will talk about the design of the popular online multiplayer game Awesomenauts. Ronimo's goal during development was to simplify the overly complex MOBA genre while retaining as much of the gameplay depth as possible. This is especially visible in the character design, where the characters are easy to understand but add as much diversity and personality as possible.

Selfie Game Award

Awarding the most original Selfie Game as a picture or in a picture!

TimeToPlay - Multiplayers!
Multiplayer Night Session
[English & German]
Organized by Tabea Iseli, Zürich (CH); Performance by Joost van Dongen, Utrecht (NL)

The Multiplayer Night starts with Cello Fortress Performance by Awesomnauts' designer Joost van Dongen. His game Cello Fortress is a unique combination of a game and a live music performance. A cellist defends a fortress by improvising on his cello. Melodies control the guns, dissonant notes activate the flamethrowers. Players from the audience use game controllers to steer their tanks and attack the fortress. Thereafter several Multiplayer Games may be played in the event room and the exhibition room. 


12.00 +
Exhibition: "Last man standing: 1st vs multiplayer"
Philomena Schwab, Beat Suter, René Bauer, Max Moswitzer
supported by Ludicious & Gamelab ZHDK
Führung durch die Ausstellung "Von (Discrimination)Pong & Space Invaders über ChuChuRockets bis zu Destiny"
René Bauer, Philomena Schwab & Beat Suter
Hybride Brett- und Kartenspiele
Reiner Knizia, Game Designer/ Spieleautor, London (UK)

Reiner Knizia has published more than 500 games and books in numerous languages and countries. He was the Winner of the 2008 German Game of the Year for Keltis and Winner of the 2008 German Children's Game of the Year for Wer war's? His most poular recent games are Keltis, Lost Cities, Callisto, Star Trek Expeditions, The Hobbit and Elektronik Labyrinth. For gameZfestival he prepared a presentation on hybrid card- and boardgames.

Digital oder analog? Wem gehört die Schweiz?
Urs Hostettler, Spieleautor, Bern (CH)

With the box game "Who owns Switzerland?" Urs Hostettler reached the limits of communicative feasibility in a board game. He talks about the problems and limitations of an analog turn-based multiplayer for more than four persons. And he points to what has led him to postpone the development of the box (board)game into the seemingly more promising digital domain.

Open Table
[German & English]
Boardgame/ Cardgame Prototypes and more

Upcoming designers present their prototypes of board- and cardgames. Hybrid projects are welcome.

Reserve a slot here >

Boardgame Play Session
[German & English]

Let's play  the presented board-, card- and hybrid games!

exhibition: "last man standing: single- vs. multiplayer"

The world of computer and video games began with the multiplayer games Spacewar, TennisForTwo, Pong and video game systems such as The Odyssey. These first games chose the classic design approach of motivating the player  by competition in the way socially accepted games such as combat and sports games do. They combined competition with clear and easy-to-use rule sets as they were known from ​​board games. While Spacewar (1961) tried to introduce an additional element into the virtual world with a black hole in the center, that was a disturbance for the player, later games purposely left out all digital extensions and simplified the space so much that the virtual world could be understood immediately. This was also a guarantee for success. The first video games therefore were mostly sports games for consoles that possessed two soldered controllers (Pong, Odyssey).

open game mic

Sign up to hold a 5 minute speech about your game project on stage (Beamer available).

Slots are only guaranteed for the first 10 sign ups. 

If you want to cancel or edit your entry, please contact us: info@gamezfestival.ch


Entries: 13
1.SchlichtDominik Haas, Christian Schmidhalter, Don Schmocker
2.SquareSphere (working title)David Canela
3.Tower OffenseRobin Bornschein
4.MergeDominik Haas, Martina Hugentobler
5.Game Design mit 3D-Malerei Part 2Flurin Jenal
6.Airships: Conquer the SkiesDavid Stark
7.SpaaaceMartin Naumann, Anne Splitt
8.Water WorldsMichael Lanz, Samuel Vonäsch
9.a nifty gameLuca Rossetto, Sascha Scherrer
10.Games & AnimationMarkus Rosse
11.Flying Yak DeliveryMelanie Vetterli & Dominik Troxler
12.The future of VR Interaction: Perception NeuronTobias Baumann
13.Mord in VenedigAlice Ruppert, Aline Baumgartner

open table

Sign up to hold a 5 minute pitch about your board- or cardgame prototype on stage (Beamer available). Hybrid prototypes, game books etc. are very welcome.

Slots are only guaranteed for the first 10 sign ups. 

If you want to cancel or edit your entry, please contact us: info@gamezfestival.ch


Entries: 2087
9.RESDavid Krummenacher & Philipp Stern
10."Stimmen Venedigs" Multilinear HybridgameAnna Nikitin, Rosina Brosi, Julie Baechtold, René Krebs
11.Hidden KingdomMichael Müller, René Krebs
12.Freaks (Kartenspiel)David Krummenacher, Michael Müller, Philipp Stern
13.cubiaFlorin Gasser, Marco Bach
14.GraviraceHelen Galliker, Anna Nikitin
15.Sibe chugelrundi SöiRobert Stoop
16.SidusLaslo Vetter, Diego Martinez, Nicolas Matter

Gamify Yourself! Award for the most playful Selfie.

Send us your Selfie on Twitter with Hashtag #selfiegame14

Deadline: Saturday, September 20, 2014, 12.00 hours

#selfiegame14 Tweets

And award goes to ...

pricing & support

Entry to the exhibition is free. The entry fees for the events are determined by dice like last year. Throw two dices and the sum is the price of a day. Alea iacta est!

You can support the festival with pins, a donation or buy a t-shirt.


The Festival was founded in 2013. Since 2014 it is organized by the gameZfestival association based in Zurich, Switzerland.

Mail: info@gamezfestival.ch 
Tel: 079 364 33 72  
Twitter: @gamezfestival 
Twitter Hash: #gamezfestival



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Games want to be played, taken apart, discussed, modified and reassembled. gameZfestival is the international festival in Zurich for the mechanics of games and their culture. Although games are usually sold as visual media, our festival is all about gameplay and its rules and systems - and this in all kind of games,  in social games, board games, hybrid games and different electronic games. The first gameZfestival features numerous talks and a game space (exhibition) built as a video game arcade.  It is all about the real core of the game: rules, rule cycles or shorter: Game Mechanics.

Play the mechanics! Show and events of 2013 >

Gamemechanics Manifesto (2013)

Game mechanics Manifesto Version 1.o

The world has turned into a game and behind its stage the small and large game mechanics rattle. The social world provides opportunities for action that we can use and adapt. For our actions we get this and that or we are punished (Never ask what the mechanics are about). Foucault once called these socially shaped spaces discourses. Discourses as game mechanics draw and steer the rewarding or punishing and are motivating at the same time. We can only act or participate where policy options are allowed. Anything else is cheating in the electronic world and amounts to revolution, crime or even terrorism in our social world.

Game mechanics as control circuits organize the (own) game world with their (joint) players and establish motivations. Thereby a game mechanic may gather all kinds of rules to generate motivation. The game mechanic may even make other minor game mechanics work for itself. In "society of the spectacle" Debord shows how a bunch of spectacle games are used as distraction to help people continue to play the 'great social game'. Be it on talk shows, in art or in politics, we are always distracted from the concrete mechanism with spectacle games and shows. In electronic games, analog media and their game mechanics are nothing more than slaves of the great mechanics: text, image or movie, they are all just media that are in the mechanics' payroll.

The simplest game mechanic is a simple game loop (cybernetic control circuit) of challenges, options for action and resulting rewards and punishments. Narration here becomes a special form of game mechanics. This special game mechanics has long ruled the world, but its reign is coming to an end. Today, we are thrown and strapped into little game mechanics. There we fizzle out with our self-motivation, rather than we place ourselves in the great mechanics of history by asking questions about it and redefining it.

Today in a world that has become meaningless, electronic game mechanics generate sense (or spectacle) for us on a specific, local and worldwide level. Game mechanics are the last great utopias of our society: Here, we find clear rules. She or he, who obeys them will make it. Game mechanics are thus the ultimate social hope in an unjust and unfair world.

We are the mechanics of these senseless new meaning systems. The game mechanics with their rules (and rule cycles) own the past, the present and the future! And we are their engineers.

The Game Mechanics

sponsors & supporters 2014

and-or.ch, rené bauer, beat suter,  livio lunin, ludicious, max moswitzer, margarete jahrmann, philomena schwab, tabea iseli, markus rosse, andi halter, outlane, reiner knizia games, ludic society, prohelvetia, zhdk game design, zhdk gamelab, zhdk, madlaina kalunder, anja fritsch, robin bornschein and and and and ...

official media partner: Festivalslive 

www.gameZfestival.ch - the festival in zurich for gamedesign and games