Workshop Archive

DocuGames: Political and Documentary Games

30 November 2005

30 Nov 2005

An evening of lectures, screenings and debate.
Games are becoming more and more involved with every day issues. After having incorporated cinematic aspects, now recent history and contemporary news reports are increasingly being remediated as well. This puts forward some interesting questions about the gaming medium and its seemingly new potential. In what ways can games function as a documentary? Can we take games, which are so celebrated for their entertaining capabilities, serious in the way we do with film documentaries? And how authentic are the claims made in an environment where players can mould facts to fit a simulated reality?


DocuGames: Political and Documentary Games - Mediamatic at IDFA 2005 photo by Bea Correa

In line with the IFDA Festival Mediamatic has organized an evening lecture on Documentary Games. Four speakers will share their experience, knowledge and insights on this new genre. Several casestudies will be brought forward and explored. Some of the issues that will be discussed include the re-experience of recent real life events, points of junction between the documentorial and simulated reality, and the political dimension of Documentary Games. Games that were commented on during the presentations can be endeavored in Mediamatic’s exhibition space.

It’s promised to be an exciting prospect on the encouter of two formally separate media. Not to miss for those who are interested in these creative treatments of actuality.


The speakers taking part in this programme are:

Joost Raessens (NL), Associate Professor of New Media Studies at Utrecht University. He has intensively published on philosophy of art, cinematography, and computer games. He will discuss what sign games should give to be considered as documentaries.

Julian Oliver (New Zealand), game developer, composer and media theorist. In 1998 he established the art based game collective Selectparks, that initiated many documentary games. Julian will talk on the politization of games, by makers as well as by audiences.

Brody Condon (USA), an artist and educator based in Los Angeles. He was member of the team that developed Waco Resurrection, and was the teacher of the game-design class that produced 9-11 Survivor. He will discuss critically the tendencies (both in commercial games as in art games) towards greater historical and political specificity.

Michael Lew (USA), Visiting Scholar at the School of Cinema-TV (University of Southern California). Michael will be contrasting essential differences and points of convergence between film and video game.

Date and place

The evening programme of November 27th starts at 20:00 hrs and takes place at the main hall of De Balie. The address is:
De Balie
Kleine Gartmanplantsoen 10


The entrance fee is € 7,50. Tickets are available at the IDFA registers, located next to the Paté City Theater, Amsterdam. For reservations call: 020 4277452.