Home Program Exhibition Awards FAQs Press Contact


The exhibition on the festival theme "Restart Together!" is all about experiencing moments of restarting together - a situation that is experienced in many ways in games. In terms of story content, for example, the apocalypse has been mastered and a "What now?" is in the air: discard everything or rebuild, follow the old rules or go your own way? What happens when game worlds can be designed by several players? The 23 selected works from 16 countries shed light on these questions and seek discussion on the extent to which they offer approaches for our society.

In PLAYvalley, games can not only be explored, but to a large extent also played together. There’s diving into a strategy game as a non-player character or writing and finding messages in bottles in endless oceans. There are communities to build, machines to restart and stories to rewrite, real or programmed friends to make, and the oddity of social virtual togetherness to celebrate.

Additionally, the six games nominated for the Creative Gaming Awards can be found in the exhibition. Each game can win the audience award, which all visitors can vote on.

In addition to the virtual exhibition in PLAYvalley, the digital festival location of PLAY21, selected works from seven countries as well as the nominees of the Creative Gaming Awards will also be available on site on the 2nd floor of the Europa Passage. Together, you can supply racing cars in pit stops, commit burglaries in the dark, and lay train lines across the country. Chess 2 celebrates its premiere as a turbo version, mouse pointers hide in zoom calls and holes form bridges into the virtual world.

Nominated games in VR can of course be played in VR! Big THANKS go out to the VR-LABOR of the FUNDUS THEATER / Theatre of Research, supported by KULTUR.GEMEINSCHAFTEN: gemeinsames Förderprogramm für digitale Content-Produktion in Kultureinrichtungen.

Audience Award
To view, play and vote on the games, visit the virtual festival location inside the PLAYvalley. Those who don't want to play themselves also have the option of simply watching.


Daily guided tours available in the program or at the Festival HQ (Well of Wisdom)!

Works & Artists

A firm handshake - Torfi Asgeirsson, Almut Schwacke (IS, 2021)
aaaaaaaahhhhh- Aest + Boz (US, 2020)
Behind every great one - Deconstructeam (ES, 2018)
Buddytale - Evie Chang, Izzy Fox, Holly Cheng (US, 2020)
Chess 2 Turbo Edition - Ludipe (ES, 2020)
Chickenarchy - Thomas Bringer (FR, 2019)
Detritus - Max Myers (AU, 2019)
EXSYNCHRONOS - Ravee (DE, 2021)
Grand Fix - @Mati_Ernst, @Itamar_Ernst, @Patacorow, @_JasonLord_ (IL, 2020)
Interview with the Whisperer - Deconstructeam (ES, 2020)
Martian Immigration Nightmare - David Stark (CH, 2017)
Mobius - Mobius Team (US, 2020)
Slender Multiplayer - Grassboii (US, tba)
Sneaky Stealy - Ironchest Games (SW, 2021)
Space Wreck - Pahris Entertainment (LV, tba)
Storyteller - Daniel Benmergui (AR, tba)
Survivalist: Invisible Strain - Bob (UK, tba)
Terra Nil - Free Lives (SA, tba)
The Factory - Team & click (DE, 2021)
The Garden of Earthly Delights - SCRNPRNT (CA, 2020)
The Gardener and wild vines - Finite Reflection (US, 2021)
The good Life - White Owls (JP, 2021)
The things we lost in the Flood - Dean Moynihan, Leafcuts (UK, 2019)
The Vermin Throne - Damian Sommer (CA, 2013)
The Witch House - @ronyaib, @atomtwist, @GDbeis (DK, 2021)
Twilight Tower - Aest + Boz (US, tba)
unrailed - Indoor Astronaut (CH, 2020)
Zoom Hide & Seek - Mai Hou (US/CN, 2020)

PLAY21 – Creative Gaming Festival is an event produced by the Initiative Creative Gaming e. V. and jaf – Verein für medienpädagogische Praxis Hamburg e. V. in cooperation with spielbar.de, the platform of the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb on the Subject of Computer Games, Behörde für Schule und Berufsbildung Hamburg and JIZ – Jugendinformationszentrum Hamburg (BSB).

Thanks to our locations: SCHORSCH at IFZ and Europa Passage Hamburg

Supported by the BürgerStiftung Hamburg and gamecity:Hamburg

In cooperation with the FUNDUS THEATER

Sponsored by siebold/hamburg messebau GmbH

Imprint Data Privacy Code of Conduct