LYST is Sex, Love, and Video Games

Why is romance, sex, and love so rarely used as themes or gameplay mechanics in computer games? The Lyst summit heading to Helsinki this summer aims to find out.

 

Why is it that sex, love, and romance is so rare in computer games? Traditional media seems to have no problem using these themes, but in computer games, they are few and far between. Are computer games simply unsuited for any serious use af these themes? Or have we just not found the right way for computer games to explore these themes?

There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to dive in at the deep end, make computer games about exactly that, love, sex, and romance, and talk about our experiences, and what digital interactive love means to us. At least, that’s the plan laid out for the upcoming Nordic Co-organized Lyst Summit in Helsinki.

 

During the three days from the 5th to 7th of June, the summit aims to bring together “artists, developers, sound artists and creatives from inside and outside the industry,” to explore the world of romance and sex in games, as the organizers describe the project.

Co-organizer Andrea Hasselager tells Nordic Game Bits, that the reason for the Summit is, that the people behind if feels, that games published today are far too similar. “Even if things seems to be about to change now, there is still need for games with more diverse narratives, game mechanics, gender roles, and themes,” she says.

We want to show that games can create experiences and generate feelings within romance, love and sex. And we want to push the boundaries even further, regarding what games can do

 

The three days in Helsinki will consist of both a symposium, and a 48 hour game jam centered around the same themes. That way, the Lyst Summit will not just be talking about romantic and sexy games, but will also be making them themselves.

And even though the first iteration of the Summit was a Danish affair – not yet established as a Nordic co-production – one can still get a pretty good idea about what’s possible in the realm om romance, sex, and love in computer games.  All the productions from the first game jam are available online, if one should have the ….. desire, so to say, to try them out.

 

The Summit is organized by the Lyst Network – a collaboration between organizations across all the Nordic countries. However, the initiative started as a local Danish summit held last year on a decommissioned ferry in Copenhagen. But the people behind it decided to spread out and make the initiative a thing involving all the neighboring countries in the region.

“After a successful Lyst Summit in 2014 we sat down to think about, how we wanted to continue with Lyst, ” Andrea Hasselager tells Nordic Game Bits. “Culturally, there’s a lot of similarities across the borders in the Nordics, and that goes for game development too. And one though lead to another: Why be only Danish, if our ambition is to spread the message we would be in a much stronger position with a unified Nordic front.”

 

The result is the creation of the new Lyst network that spans Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. “We are Patrick and me from Copehagen Game Collective, Runa from Hamar Game Collective in Norway, Kjell from Sweden and Oliver from Ykon.org, Helsinki,” Andrea tells.

As a result, the Lyst Summit will now be touring the Nordic countries. This year the Summit will take place on the island of Vartiosaari, right outside of Helsinki. Next year it will move to Oslo, and in 2017 Lyst Summit will be coming to Sweden.

Jesper K. Kristiansen

Multi-passionate game developer and journalist. Has been writing about the Danish games industry for more than ten years, and creating audio design for both Danish and International games for almost as long.

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