Game Festival ends the School year 2023

School of Gaming celebrates the end of school year by organizing Game Festival for all it's gamers. Everyone get a chance to showcase their projects and best ones received glory and awards. And of course everyone got their picture taken in the famous yellow carpet.
School of Gaming's Game Festivale celebrates gamers and their projects.
Written by
Niina Meskus

School of Gaming has offered gaming clubs all over Finland for the past two years, ever since Finland kickstarted it's Model for Leisure Activities. Some of our clubs are held completely online, in others game educators are onsite guiding the gamers in multitude of activities from esports to media skills. 

During the first year of activities we noticed that the dropout rate from free activities is worryingly high. The hobbies are clearly important to the kids - it is an opportunity to get new friends, learn new skills and find meaningful things to do after school. It is an important tool to tackle loneliness, isolation and exclusion. Thus, we have a clear mission for our gaming clubs: offer top quality hobbies but also create an inclusive community for the gamers. A tribe where they can be themselves, find friends and feel proud that they are gamers. 

Upcoming semester we will dig our heels ever deeper into that mission, but we have already started piloting different tools to fulfill our important promise. This spring we introduced Gaming Festivals where every club and group can showcase their projects. We also went through every single project that was submitted to the Festivals and our jury gave feedback to all of them and chose winners in gaming related categories. They were like mini Oscars for our gamers.

Do you want to see what our gamers came up with during spring semester 2023?

Most of the Gaming Festival submissions were games that the groups created during the clubs. Some of them showcased excellent game design, others interesting game mechanics, some had focused on the story and some were able to bring all of these important aspects into a cohesive and enjoyable gaming experience. Our jury also listened to game educators’ reports on groups teamwork efforts. 

At this point, you might want to know who was on the jury. The jury was led by School of Gaming’s founder and Principal (Gamer) aka Reksi. I, the writer of this too long blog post, and Chief Product officer of SoG, brought the User Experience point of view to the jury and acted as its scribe. Our education and pedagogy member was Tuğba Whitehead who especially examined the collaborative efforts of the groups.

Whole Finland partook

We got submissions from Inari to Espoo, so the whole Finland was covered! 

The biggest award hoarder of the year was…. Kotka!

We gave awards in five categories:

  • Best all-rounder of the year
  • Story of the year
  • Game design of the year
  • World builders of the year
  • Best game mechanics of the year

In addition the jury ended up giving honorary mentions to projects that showed exceptional effort.

Jury notes. Awards, standings and honorary mentions.

Kotka ended up taking home the biggest price of the year. Helilä’s coding group created a game that was a superb example of what you can do with Minecraft Education’s coding tools. The group used innovative solutions to create a well balanced game. The group also received the award for the best game mechanics of the year. Kotka’s other coding club created such a tricky and cunning parkour trail to Minecraft that the jury saw no other solution than to acknowledge their building skills with an honorary mention.

Kotka's winning game was super exciting with ever increasing difficulty levels.

Inari’s Game Design and Coding group 2 created cool bedwars styled minigame that received high marks from all jury members. Helsinki Hiidenkivi’s Game Design and Coding club created a platform game using Scratch. It was the best platformer of the year and thus received third place in the main award category.

Espoo was also a big overall scorer. Their Coding club’s game almost halted the jury work as Reksi enjoyed the smooth and polished clicker game a bit too much and tried to beat his top score vigorously.

Many projects were filled with fun humour. The jury was so happy to see such creativity, self expression and focus on details. One of the most humorous games was Jämsä’s Super Mario parody “The Frenchmen” and because it made the jury laugh out loud, we awarded the group with the Parody award of the year.

Karkkila’s huge building project got first place in the World Building category. They also showed how amazing creations can be achieved when a group works together and everybody is included in the process of making something spectacular. The same kind of spirit was shown in Oulainen where Grand Adventures took the group on a survival expedition. The unforgettable story unfolded as a group effort where everybody did their share and created a narrative that will be stored in our School’s history books.

Huge group effort.

I could talk about our groups’ games and creations until my ink runs out, but let me summarise this by saying that there is so much talent and potential in our gamers that we were at awe when we went through all the submitted projects. Next fall semester we will make the Festival even bigger and aim that every single group submits a project for the jury to look through. 

We will also figure out a way to share these projects with all of you, so you can go and look them yourself. 

A huge applause and warmest of thank you to every single gamer that has attended our leisure activities.I sincerely hope you had fun and we see your work in the upcoming semesters.

Have a great summer,

Jury Scribe and Member


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