Dutch Digital Design celebrates outstanding digital design from the Netherlands. So what is digital design exactly? And can you classify game design as digital design? Digital design emerged in the 1990s as a result of the revolutionary changes in computer technology. So, yes, in our view, game design is definitely part of digital design. You could even say that it was part of the very beginnings of digital design. Computer games were popular before we were even thinking about flashy websites and mobile apps. In this short article we would like to shine a light on the Dutch gaming industry. Because also within this industry the Dutch are known for creating distinctive work. We dare to experiment, innovate and push boundaries. Dutch gaming studios, like Guerrilla Games, are known all over the world. Something we, at Dutch Digital Design, are very proud of. Proud of the amazing digital design we create here in the Netherlands.
Setting the scene. The gaming industry is, as are many other industries, victim of a multitude of stereotypes. Lara Croft. Do we need to say any more? Or any of the female Marvel characters. Just imagine putting any male computer game characters in any of the poses or outfits that we see our favourite female characters in. But we’ve come to accept it, and might even like it. This didn’t stop Dutch game development company Guerrilla Games looking at their female characters a different way.
Introducing Aloy, the lead character, in role-playing game Horizon Zero Dawn - made in Amsterdam, by Guerrilla Games. Launched in 2017, the game has already sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. With a female hero that isn’t over-sexualised, Guerrilla Games has introduced a mindset change in the world of computer gaming. And it hasn’t done them any harm. It is one of PlayStation 4’s most popular games ever. With mixed gender teams and over 30 nationalities, Guerrilla Games felt it was time to develop a game that put an end to stereotypes, and would focus on the game play. Currently the global gaming world is in anticipation of Horizon Zero Dawn’s sequel: Horizon Forbidden West. With Aloy as the main protagonist again.
Guerrilla Games was founded back in 2001 - originally as Lost Boys Games - and is since 2005 part of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE). Employing more than 350 people. It is one of Europe’s leading game development companies. Its co-founder, Hermen Hulst, is now head of PlayStation Studio and formerly vice president of SIE. No mean feat for a Dutchman.
Another interesting personality in the Dutch but also global world of gaming, is Rami Ismael. Co-founder of Dutch independent game studio Vlambeer which he started with Jan Willem Nijman. Games like Ridiculous Fishing, Nuclear Throne and Super Crate Box have earned them numerous awards. But this wasn’t enough for Rami. He wants to make a difference in the world of gaming. Not only by developing great games, but by helping to improve the gaming industry when it comes to diversity. It earned him the Game Developers Choice Award in 2018. By becoming a spokesperson on the topic of diversity within the video game industry. Rami is currently travelling the world to support and enable game developers in less developed countries. Made possible by the money made from the games Vlambeer developed.
And although winning awards isn’t the be-all-end-all, we would also like to mention our BAFTA-nominated game developer Tomas Sala for his debut game The Falconeer - featured on our website a little while ago.
So, plenty to be proud of as the small country we are. Proud of Dutch game developers pushing boundaries. Whether political, gaming or stereotypical boundaries.
These are just a few from the amazing gaming melting pot here in the Netherlands. If you are a Dutch game developer, or know of any Dutch game designers or games worth mentioning on our Dutch Digital Design platform, please share it with us here. We have a brand new board member, Remco Dongor, who would love to chat about it with you. He is, amongst other things, a genuine gaming geek, and co-founder of Dutch advertising agency Kapooow - who are all about impact, inclusivity and interactivity. A proper introduction will follow soon.