A MAZE. / Berlin 2020

9th International Games and Playful Media Festival

Director’s statement about the new A MAZE. Award categories

Since 2012 our awards have evolve constantly, illustrating our flexibility and awareness of the fast and constant movement of the scene, the community and the industry. Most of our submission rules we formulated in 2012 are not representative of the current state anymore. There are no standards, no fixed language … people making games are exploring and experimenting constantly and making thoughtful choices in design and storytelling. From our point of view we are all explorers of new playful realities, creators of possibility spaces, fearless explorers of “what-might-be”. Many productions can not be categorized as games exclusively anymore. Not all productions are being created by game developers. If you look closely, you can find many crossovers with other art forms which enrich our beloved medium. They are playful media, exploring new ways of interaction and storytelling, of telling personal histories, of socio-critical thinking and reflection of human life in the digital age.

During the jury meeting in 2016 we had an interesting discussion on how we can embrace the variety of creation and the obvious need to clarify our award descriptions. So we put a lot of thoughts into the new categories in respect of the past, the present and the future of game productions. The reformation of the A MAZE. Awards was also inspired by a post made by Zach Gage in early 2016- Evolving the IGF (Link: https://medium.com/@helvetica/evolving-the-igf-8c1c2d5d3617#.qxatpbw4a).

A lot happened in the last couple of years: new platforms, new technologies and tools, diverse journalism, new publishers, new creators, thought-provoking play, interdisciplinary productions and discourses, realities colliding in VR, AR and MR. Artists are creating games, writers are discovering interactive storytelling, games become toys; no high scores, no goals, no missions… All of this is making us curious about new experiences, pieces of playful art based on pure artistic imaginations, far from the market, far from known game mechanics. We think interdisciplinary and we think out of the box. We love games! We love to play! We love players who are following us on a ride to find the magic of our times.

Our categories are now open for all kinds of playful media (that involve some form of technology). Our categories aim to be as balanced as possible in order to reflect the current state of the game landscape. We won’t adhere to separations made by technological platforms (mobile/VR/PC/web… etc). We celebrate your works. We celebrate YOU. We believe in you.

In respect,
Thorsten S. Wiedemann and A MAZE. Team

Check out the new A MAZE. Award categories