TechCamp Istanbul, a project that brought together game designers, developers, industry mentors, NGO representatives, and education specialists to produce technology-based creative solutions wrapped up. The event was hosted by Bahçeşehir University Game Lab (BUG Lab) in cooperation with U.S. Consulate General Istanbul brought game developers together.
TechCamp Istanbul was initially launched back on 25-27 February 2022 and aimed to create video game-based solutions or communication ideas to tackle important issues in Media Literacy/Countering Disinformation, Women’s Empowerment & Gender Based Violence, and Environment/Climate Change. The launch saw six young teams of game developers being mentored by game industry experts to create games that address the serious problems facing the world.
The closing reception took place in The U.S. Consul General’s Residence in Istanbul and the Consul General-Designate Ms. Julie Eadeh —assumed duty as the U.S. Consul General-designate in Istanbul just recently, on October 10, 2022— talked to each team and tried out their games.
Consul General-Designate Ms. Julie Eadeh spoke to Mobidictum at the closing reception and said,
“We are very pleased to cooperate with Bahçeşehir University within the framework of the TechCamp program. TechCamp Istanbul has motivated bright young people in Türkiye to address some of the world’s most serious problems through the medium of gaming,
“Games are great tools for dialogue, creativity, and progress. The success of TechCamp Istanbul shows that we can and should use the power of technology and innovation to create a better world.”
“We aim to show how powerful a dialogue and empathy tool games can be”
Bahçeşehir University Game Laboratory (BUG Lab) Director Dr. Instructor Member Güven Çatak, who also lead the Istanbul side of TechCamp, said, the event showed how games can be a tool for powerful dialogue and empathy.
Dr. Instructor Çatak talked to Mobidictum and said TechCamp Istanbul was the largest “Games for Change” event in the region to this date and added that it helped with taking the first steps to launch Games for Change Middle East. He then commented about the projects TechCamp Istanbul gave birth to with the following words:
Our initial goal was to generate ideas, and prototypes and pick the most suitable ones, offering them support in turning these ideas into games. There were over 20 projects that qualified in this manner, and we picked six of them for the next stage; two games for each subject – Countering Disinformation, Women’s Empowerment & Gender Based Violence, and Environment/Climate Change.
The six selected projects were given six-months long game development support via our mentors, who’re experts in their areas. These projects are all in playable states now and they’re long and good enough to express themselves in a narrative manner.
Dr. Instructor Çatak thanked the United States Embassy for doing this work together in Turkey and explained how TechCamp also allowed them to reach not only the students but teachers as well. He said,
We truly appreciate TechCamp Istanbul, it proved itself as a productive event and even allowed us to launch a side project that went along with the main occasion. We kick-started ‘Game-Friendly Teacher Course’ in September, a smaller event that put the focus on middle and high school teachers. We trained teachers in basic game design and had all six titles produced at TechCamp Istanbul played in schools.
All the games developed in TechCamp Istanbul
All six brand-new titles developed at TechCamp Istanbul can be found on their respective itch.io pages. Dr. Çatak said some of the games, if not all, will eventually find their place on other platforms such as Steam and a few others, but added that it’s up to the developing parties.
You can click on the titles to download each game and try them yourselves.
Using VR technology, this VR game aims to raise awareness of environmental issues. The main character in this story can travel in time and tries to prevent future environmental problems through his superpowers. One of the quests sees the main character prevent the Chernobyl Disaster.
Project Harmony is a welcoming card game that you can run on itch.io right away. The creators of the card game said “We wanted to make a ‘choices matter card game’ and it has the player in the role of a country leader. Through your choices, you try to maintain a sustainable system for your people and work toward a better future for the future generations to come.
This is a 2D platformer, a short adventure game that allows players to control a little girl. Each level has basic tasks like collecting flowers or using green orbs to gain the ability to double jump and overcome obstacles. The little girl in the story is destined to be a child bride, a major issue worldwide, and while its prevalence decreased the practice still remains widespread and the game aims to tackle this issue.
This game’s purpose is “To raise awareness by showing the injustices that women are exposed to in their daily lives, to help women make their voices heard, and to reduce the injustices in women’s lives by enabling people to empathize,” The player controls a young detective and tries to solve the story of a woman with a missing person’s notice.
The story is about a high school student who works for her school’s newspaper. She regularly receives news and updates from her friends and acquaintances and tries to ensure these are legit news while trying to avoid fake ones. By using her resources and research power, she aims to inform the public accurately.
This one is a 3D puzzle game about disinformation. The game has the player attempt to communicate with emoji stories. The creators of the game say, “While our game looks simple on the surface, there are a number of interactions that you can explore as a player. You might choose to reach the end quickly, but you can also take another step to find out what really is happening in the town… Good luck!”