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The PLAY - CREATIVE GAMING FESTIVAL invited to celebrate the culture of digital games online, hybrid, and on-site from November 5 to 13, 2021. For the first time, workshops, exhibitions, shows, roundtables, and talks offered nine days of participation, discussion, programming, exploration, and, of course, gaming. Participants decided for themselves how to visit the festival: stream, virtual festival location, or digital game worlds – all roads led to PLAY21.

According to the motto RESTART TOGETHER!, last year's festival focused on the past and the future, on isolation and communitarization, on proximity and distance. PLAY21 explored the role of games in a (post-)pandemic society and dealt with questions like how games bring us together in a global crisis, how they give hope, become alternative places of encounter, and how game culture will change after and because of Covid-19.

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The audience of PLAY21 could decide how actively they want to participate in the festival. One possibility was to follow the livestreams via YouTube (InsideCreativeGaming), to ask questions there and to participate in discussions in the chat. Another option was to join the program in PLAYvalley, the virtual festival location of PLAY21, which was realized on the Topia platform. There the audience could follow the program together with others, play the many different games within the exhibition, or exchange ideas and participate in program points. The games nominated for the Creative Gaming Awards were also playable in Gamecity Hamburg‘s online hub.

Besides the online program, there were also face-to-face workshops at 12 Hamburg schools and two at SCHORSCH District Center in Hamburg, St. Georg. In addition to the interactive exhibition within PLAYvalley, visitors were able to try out a selection of games on the 2nd floor of Europa Passage Hamburg (where the PLAY21 studio was also located).


PLAY is the first and only festival worldwide to unite media art, discourse and education with the culture of digital games. It focuses on the creative utilization of digital games: invent, build, tinker, modify, program, dance, discuss - anything goes!

PLAY is the festival for game enthusiasts and gamers, indie game developers and media artists, pupils and students, teachers and educators, scientists, people involved in the games industry and everyone, who wishes to play and learn with digital games.

PLAY – Creative Gaming Festival happened for the 14th time and is around since 2008. Have a look at the last six festivals:


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

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