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LUDICIOUS Zurich Game Festival 2016

After Pocket Gamer Connects London 2016, I flied directly from London to Zurich, Switzerland. The temperature was 0°C, which is so “Warm” for me who live in Finland. Zurich is a big and beautiful city with 2 million population in its metropolitan located at the north side of Alpine. The major industry is banking. The surprising thing is the high living cost there. A Burger King set costs 15CHF and a bowl of Japanese noodle (Ramen) costs 22CHF comparing to the same burger set costing 6 EUR and Ramen costing 15 EUR in Helsinki.


※Historical building as the conference hall.

LUDICIOUS Zurich Game Festival is oriented quite differently from Pocket Gamer Connects. Although the conference is composed of 3 parts: lectures, exhibition and business matching, the major part is the lectures. The business matching system only accept people through invitation, and the major targets are limited to game developers and investors, which makes the business matching system not practical enough for the whole industry. Besides, although there are more than 20 great games exhibited there, the developers were not always there, which also reduced the chance for networking.


The lectures of the conference lasted for 2 days with around 50-100 people who are mainly students and young game developers. Even though it looks relatively simple, it has been a very nice program since this is just the second time the conference held.



The most impressive lecture was given by John Romero, the programmer of DOOM which is the PC game I loved very much while I was 15 years old. John flied from USA to share us the history of his game related career. In spite of the age of those games and machines he mentioned having been more than 20 years old, I did feel those games are so close to me at that moment.


Brenda Romero, wife of John and the game designer in Romero Games, gave a lecture about game design with the topic of “One: The Power of Simplicity”. A great game doesn’t need to have a lot of new features or elements. Just one new feature or element is sufficient. It can be one idea, one concept, the different one second in contacting game players or one different interface to game players. She also emphasized it is important to clearly demonstrate what is different in your game from other games. By the way, the interface means the media between the users and the products. It could be game device, the main screen of a game for game players and games or a photo of steak for food and hungry people. One kind of simple difference in interface can also bring a great game, Brenda said.



I also met a very interesting game in the exhibition hall. It’s a PC game called “Out of Sight”. “To search for memory fragments in someone’s past and to find out the story by connect related memories together” is the main concept. It’s a story like watching a drama or reading a novel together with shockingly high-quality visual and sound effects. *It’s free for download on PC. However, the control is only supported by joystick. Download page: http://outofsight.itch.io/out-of-sight

Here is the trailer video:

This is the playing video recorded by me.

Overall, although this conference is not designed fully for business, the compact lecture program and good games in the exhibition are still very good.