The 2009 R.I.S.K. competition

Yesterday 11 candidates submitted their entries for R.I.S.K., a yearly Norwegian game design competition where entrants design a game in one week.

This year, the theme seems to be news and the media, covered by more than a third of the games: “Dagsrevyen” (The Daily News), “Hund bet mann” (Dog Bites Man), “Reality” and “Vi har visst mistet kontakten med studio” (We Seem to Have Lost Contact With the Studio). Some Norwegian game designers are journalists, and others (like myself) talk a lot about What’s Wrong With Today’s Media. Still, though – 4 of 11 games?

There’s also a strong undercurrent of meta-fiction, if you can call it that. “Jon Quixote”, a parody of Don Quixote involving a D&D fan and constant reality twists; “Paradigme”, where players contribute and discuss rules to determine the laws of nature in the fiction; and “Hamartia”, where players are authors controlling Greek heroes from literature.

Interesting stuff, most of it. People seem to be going for the idea and the vibe this year, more than actually playtesting and finishing their games, so there’s a general feel of half-baked conceptual stuff. On the other hand, organizer Michael Sollien is encouraging participants to use the coming week to hone their games and make them shine. Not sure if people will actually do that, since it doesn’t influence the competition results, but we’ll see. This year’s HolmCon will see some hours of R.I.S.K. gaming, though; it’s always fun trying out some of these games, and experience from previous years shows that the competition winners aren’t necessarily the games you remember a year or two later.

(If you can read Norwegian, or just want to look at the PDFs, they’re here.)

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