Gaming the Real World

Can games change the world? With cities everywhere struggling to cope with the population growth that increased urbanisation brings, can video games be harnessed to help the residents, especially young people, take part in planning, and fixing their own cities?

Today public spaces and entire cities are being designed, planned and played through the medium of games. The result of this ’civic gameification’ is that city architecture and urban planning is being democratized. Cities have become the ground zero for digital innovation and the debate about how our cities evolve has suddenly gone viral.

We follow three game companies navigating the space where urban planning and gaming meet. Lydia Winters at the game developer Mojang, the creators of Minecraft, Paradox Interactive and the game Cities: Skylines and José Sanches and his indie game Block’hood. How will our cities look in 20-100 years time?

Our film jury gives "Gaming the Real World" a mixed rating, as the film does not explain connections well enough and only has a short section of direct ecological relevance. On the other hand, it is positively emphasized that the film highlights a relevant topic that has received little public attention so far and that novel approaches and solutions are presented.

The film's content is stimulating and pleasant to watch thanks to its appealing narrative technique and logically structured argumentation. Statements are underpinned by suitable images. There's nothing wrong with the technical quality of the film, but it doesn't stand out either.

"Gaming the Real World" convinces with its objectivity, but unfortunately often remains rather superficial and doesn't manage to convey a comprehensive view on the topic. Critics of the approach do not have their say.

Since the film is thematically rather narrow, not everyone will feel addressed to the same extent. However, it is certainly inspiring for those interested and encourages them to get personally involved. Regardless of whether one is into games or not, "Gaming the Real World" opens up a positive and encouraging vision of the future.

Director(s): Anders Eklund
Production: Mats Billberg Johansson, Luckyday
Music: Pär Davisson
Actors: Lydia Winters, Jörgen Hallström, David Bergström, Emil Andersson, Thomas Melin, Vu Bui, Pontus Westerberg, Eric Gordon, Susanna Pollack, Asi Burak, José Sanchez, Phil Hoad, Mariian Hallikainen, Jakob Munthen, Vikas Metha, Gentaro Makinoda, Charles Gachanga, Biayna Bogosian, Harrison S. Fraker, Taylor Harris, Jason King, Karoliina Korppoo, Richard Lemarchand, John Rickne, Dan Richardson
Year: 2016
Duration: 72 min
Our age recommendation: 14
Language (audio): English
Country of origin: Sweden
Shooting Locations: Kenya, United States, Sweden, Nepal

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Main topic(s): Innovation Human Potential Urbanization + Smart Cities
Secondary topics: do it yourself infrastructure neighborhoods urban development cooperation activism
Mentions: civic gamification games virtual technology community city development urban empowerment Minecraft Block'hood Mojang Paradox Interactive video games PC xbox playstation gamer
Topic Page(s): Urbanization + Smart Cities


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