German Computer Game TRAUMA

I’m currently engrossed in a website project and my updates slipped a lot. But recently, some pretty amazing things happened with TRAUMA which I would like to share with you.

First, TRAUMA was featured by the major German newspaper Die Zeit. It was actually featured quite prominently, with a screenshot from the game covering an entire page:

Die Zeit Article

“We can also do Art – What makes Computer Games serious? Should game development receive public funding? Who makes the best games? A round-trip to the most promising developers.”

The article was part of a bigger topic of this particular edition, focusing on the artistic value of games. This is a HUGE deal in Germany. So far, no big newspaper ever acknowledged the validity of Computer Games as a medium so clearly. The German newspaper and TV coverage of Computer Games focused almost exclusively on the issue of violent games being a danger for Children. So Die Zeit coming out this way may be be the sign of a phenomenal shift in the public perception of games. The article featured me among Daedalic and Crytec as examples of promising game developers. It painted a pretty in-depth picture of a medium struggling to find it’s identity as it transitions from niche entertainment into the role of a cultural mainstream medium. Needless to say, I’m speechless of being mentioned and I’m really happy with the interview quotes of me they included. My Girlfriend said I sounded very smart. I would say smarter than I deserve. ;)

The other big event was the German Developer Award. Guess what! TRAUMA won!

German Developer Award 2012

1st Person Perspective at the German Developer Award 2012 by Katharina Tillmanns

It was a bit of a bumpy ride. Actually, I should have sent TRAUMA in for this award last year. But the deadline was so close to release, I simply missed it. So this year, the Award management was reluctant to accept TRAUMA. I sent it in anyway, together with a letter explaining the situation. Since I selected so many different categories, I risked quite a big fee as well. So I was devastated when I realized TRAUMA didn’t get into any of the categories I suggested it for. But hey, at least I tried, right? Then, a few days later, they notified me it was nominated for a special Jury award. And to my utter surprise this week, it actually won in this category! So together with the German Computer Game Award earlier this year, TRAUMA recieved both major German games awards. What an honor!

The ceremony was really cool too. The location was an old factory building in Düsseldorf. We were seated on tables. They made sure to get every winner on stage. The atmosphere was really relaxed and classy.

And here again – a certain shift was noticeable. The Zeit article was mentioned in multiple laudations. The laudation of TRAUMA went in great detail how the game was a clear proof of Computer Games being capable of much more than mere entertainment. The big winner of the show was Spec Ops: The Line, which won a whole series of awards – including the award for the best game. Unsurprisingly, Spec Ops was also featured quite prominently in that Zeit article. One laudation came from a guy working at the German Video Game rating board USK. He confessed that Spec Ops threw quite a wrench into their system. The game had to go through all instances of the rather complex rating board machinery. The actual rating board had a very difficult time to come to a decision. Apparently, for the fist time ever, a game has spawned a discussion about the danger of the rating board censoring access to genuine pieces in an act of misguided children protection.

We live in exciting times. Things are changing. They are certainly changing here in Germany. I’m flattered and happy to play my little role in this shift. These days, I tend to think back to the humble beginnings of this project. Who would have thought it would get so far?

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

One response to “German Computer Game TRAUMA”

  1. MisterT


    I am very happy about both – the game industry starting to embrace concepts beyond mere technical innovation and the old media slowly getting a grasp on the potential.

    I wonder whether this situation is comparable to what happend to films in the 1920ies, when movies became more than moving pictures or rather to the 70ies when the studio system got overrun by innovative film makers, replacing big budgets with unconventional ideas and entertainment with relevant content.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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