gameZfestival is back with three days of talks, international guests, indie game studios, panel discussions, awards and OpenMic. This year's topic is 'Motivate Play!'. Our Highlights are Sina Els from Crytek, Thomas van den Berg, Floyd Müller and Miguel Sicart. And 10 developer studios will present their newest products. Games are systems of control that are exceptionally motivating. We take a closer look at motivational design for games in our conference gameZ & ruleZ. Festival and conference will be accompanied by a playable videogame exhibition.

Location: Zurich, Kunstraum Walcheturm Kanonengasse 20. Just off from Zurich mainstation (5').

Program: Friday, 4. November

  gameZ & rulez conference track   [More on ]
10:00 Opening Conference
10:15 Keynote #1: Dr. Florian Müller, Exertion Games Lab Melbourne (AUS). Why it is fun to move: Motivational Design in Serious Exergames.
11:15 Dr. Mela Kocher & Anna Martin-Niedecken, Game Design ZHdK (CH). Move it, move it! Bodycentered Game Mechanics in Urban Games & Exergames.
12:00 Lunch
13:30 Petr Pouchly, Court of Moravia (CZ). Playful Design of Business Live Action Role Playing Games.
14:30 René Bauer, Game Design ZHdK (CH) & Sarah Celebioglu, TriCAT (D). iMoMo: Innovative Technologies for Monitoring, Modeling and Managing Water.
15:30 Pause
16:00 Wolfgang Walk, Grumpy Old Men (D). Ethics in Game Mechanics.
  gameZfestival indie game talks track
18:00 Opening of Videogame Exhibition "Motivate Play". Curated by GameLab ZHdK and Master Students Game Design ZHdK.
18:30 Swiss Games Trailers 2016. Presented by Andi Halter and Philomena Schwab.
19:00 Basil Weber, Urban Games (CH). Transport Fever.
20:00 Aleksander Kauch, 11 bit studios (PL). Programming AI for This War of Mine.
21:00 Robin Baumgarten (UK/ A). Line Wobbler (Winner of GameZfestival Award Most Creative Game 2015)


Program: Saturday, 5. November

  gameZ & rulez conference track:
09:30 Coffee
10:00 Imre Hofmann (CH). Overview and analysis: Theories of Game Mechanics.
11:00 Dr Hiloko Kato (D/ CH). Guidance Systems in Videogames.
12:00 Lunch
13:30 Keynote #2: Miguel Sicart, Center for Computer Game Research, IT University Copenhagen (DK). Beyond Fun: Why we play games.
14:30 Patrick Winkler, Gameforge/Robot Entertainment (D). Retention Design for Orcs Must Die! Unchained.
  gameZfestival indie game talks track
16:00 Selected Swiss Indie Studios present their newest games: 16:00 Great Sam, 16:15 decodoku, 16:30 Sycoforge, 16:45 Pupro, 17:00 StruckD, 17:15 Ateo, 17:30 Airconsole, 17:45 Koboldgames, 18:00 Niche, 18:15 Bitforge, 18:30 Blindflug and 18:45 gbanga
19:00 'My favourite Game,  but not my own'. Panel moderated by René Bauer (CH). Philomena Schwab (Niche), Mario von Rickenbach ( and and and (not yet confirmed)
20:00 Keynote #3: Sina Els (Senior 3D Artist), Crytek (D). Motivational Art and Narrative Design in VR. (Robinson: The Journey)
21:00 Thomas van den Berg, Noio (NL). Kingdom: New Lands.
22:00 René Bauer, la1n (CH). Release of VECZ (a game for the Vectrex console) & Champagne

Program: Sunday, 6. November

  gameZfestival indie game talks track
12:00 Meet the Designers. Exhibition opens. Guided Tour by curators (30 minutes).
12:30 Petr Pouchly, Court of Morovia (CZ). Design & Play: LARP Workshop (2 hours 30 minutes; sign up the day before).
13:30 Pokemon Go - Fog and Firework! A Pokemon Go Tour through Zurich with expert Andi Halter (CH).
15:00 Open Mic. Swiss Game Designers introduce their new projects in 5 minutes.

Open Mic [Register by sending an email to - Email-Title: [OpenMic] Content: [ProjectName / Project&Team / URL / opt: Video-URL ]

1. Andres Bucher, Julia Bohren. The Hanged Man.  
2. Simon Broggi, Mark van Raai. Cosmic Hare.  
3. Annika Rüeggsegger, Yannic Hungerbühler. Orbonom. [Video]  
4. Pixel with Hat (Sascha Scherrer & Luca Rossetto). senalux.  
5. Ayane Stämpfli and Team (Game Design Schwerin). The Dating Game.  
  gameZfestival Awards 2016
16:00 Best of FANTOCHE Workshop Games 2016 (Game Design & Animation)
16:30 SGDA Junior Swiss Game Design Award 2016: presented by Reto Senn (SGDA)
17:00 gameZfestival Awards 2016 for most creative game: best game mechanic. Presented by Philomena Schwab & Livio Lunin.
18:00 Finissage

Exhibition: motivate play [combined with conference]

Friday, Nov. 4 Opening + 18:00 - 24.00
Saturday, Nov. 5 10:00 - 24.00
Sunday, Nov. 6 12:00 - 19.00

Concept of the exhibition: Focus is motivational design for games. Commercial games sucdeed in keeping players occupied and interested for a long time. How do they do this? Are motivational systems in Indie games different or do they use similar strategies? To what extent does the reward and punishment system change when players do not voluntarily play, but need to be involved into learning and therapeutic processes in serious games? What design strategies should be chosen for creating intrinsic motivation out of extrinsic motivation? The exhibtion "Motivate Play" tries to answer this questions in focusing on game mechanics and 'meaningful' gameplay interactions.


The award of 2015 goes to "Line Wobbler".

Moods 2015


November 4 - 6, 2016; Zurich, Switzerland. The international gameZfestival is organized by the gameZfestival association, Game Lab and Game Design ZHdK. The Program has been developed by Beat Suter, René Bauer, Livio Lunin, Philomena Schwab, Markus Rosse and Mela Kocher from the GameLab of the University of the Arts Zurich. The exhibition has been developed by Livio Lunin, Beat Suter, René Bauer, Philomena Schwab, Max Moswitzer and Mela Kocher. Max Moswitzer designed the Logo and the Festival Bags, Livio Lunin designed the posters and the t-shirts, Markus Rosse designed the in-exhibition illustrations. Tabea Iseli is responsible for the Online Marketing for the Festival. Maike Thies and Marco Bach designed the exhibition texts. Students from Game Design ZHdK have collaborated in developing and installing the exhibition and festival spaces.