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Swiss computer games make it big in California

The Swiss Arts Council, with its «Digital Culture» programme, supports creative work that makes use of new technological possibilities. This targeted form of promotion has now borne rich fruit. At this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and its parallel events, the most important get-together in the game development field worldwide, Swiss games backed by Pro Helvetia won more awards and nominations than ever before.

Each year at the beginning of March, the international computer industry focuses its attention on San Francisco, where creators of games gather for the Game Developers Conference (GDC). The GDC is generally considered to be the leading event of its kind, presenting a choice selection of the scene’s latest creative ideas and technological developments from all over the world.

Pro Helvetia organised Switzerland’s presence in California together with Swissnex San Francisco and the City of Zurich, and supported the games to be presented there via calls for applications and a promotional programme. This backing has now paid off. Never before has the Swiss game development scene attracted so much international attention.

Record number of awards for Swiss game designers

Two of the eight games that gained a much-coveted «Best in Play» award at the GDC were created in Switzerland. One went to Florian Faller and Adrian Stutz for their jump ’n’ run game «Feist», which in its aesthetics is reminiscent of a graphic novel. Another was conferred on Blindflug Studios for their new game «Cloud Chaser». And this was not the only distinction the Zurich-based start-up took home from California. The Blindflug crew was also nominated for the International Mobile Game Award in the «Most Creative & Original Project» category for their debut creation «First Strike». At the Independent Game Festival, a GDC offshoot, Etter Studio, with game designer Mario von Rickenbach and animation film maker Michael Frei, were nominated for the prestigious «Nuovo Award» for a game called «Plug & Play». Out of the 24 games nominated at the Game Connection Development Awards, another event running in parallel with the GDC, six come from Switzerland. The proportion reflects the powerful Swiss presence at this year’s developers conferences in San Francisco. «Swiss computer games can no longer be overlooked by the international game industry», says Sylvain Gardel, Head of Impulse Programmes at the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. «They stand out thanks to innovative ideas and excellent game design.»

Press Information: Isabel Drews, Communication,

T +41 44 267 71 51, idrews@prohelvetia.ch

Press release of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, 06.03.2015