With the widespread use of mobile devices and the Internet, video games have moved beyond fun and entertainment. They have also entered into more serious fields such as education and medical treatment, leading to the "serious games" genre for non-entertainment simulations.
In the light of the ever-expanding purpose of the video game, an exhibition featuring state-of-the-art games by Swiss designers is now on display to highlight the creativity of the Swiss gaming world for both its technology and design.
The exhibition, Swiss Game Design, opened Saturday at the China Millennium Monument Museum of Digital Arts (CMoDA), sponsored by Pro Helvetia Shanghai, an office representing the Swiss Arts Council in China to facilitate cultural exchanges between China and Switzerland. The exhibition aims to "draw attention to the social, economic and aesthetic aspects of video games and explore the characteristics of the genre as a new art form," according to CMoDA.
Running through February 3, the exhibition showcases award-winning Swiss game designers and companies with 23 creative works in categories ranging from research and technology to mobile gaming to art. Photos, texts and video clips are shown in the museum along with computers and iPhones with which visitors can take a turn playing the games on display.
Highlights include Gabarello v1.0, a physical therapy game developed by a research group at the Zurich University of the Arts to help disabled people heal.
"The computer game is a key 21st-century medium and seismograph of a cultural development in which various digital media are merging to mobile all-purpose devices," said Jiang Jianqiu, deputy general manger of the Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group, which runs CMoDA. "Technology and research are required, as are innovation and artistic creativity. Game design stands for the development of a game's content and rules and the creation of a virtual world that players can experience interactively."
Pei Feng, a fourth-year student of game design at Communication University of China, was impressed by the development of serious games in Switzerland after viewing the show, but also disappointed that the exhibit had only a few interactive devices for visitors to try out the games.
"In China now, most serious games are for educational purposes, and the design of such games is largely initiated and supported by the government, instead of independent game designers or companies. But in Switzerland serious games have been used for therapeutic functions."
When: Until February 3
Where: B1 Floor, Zone A, 9A China Millennium Monument, Fuxing Lu, Haidian district