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Maltese digital game gets international attention

Something Something Soup Something developed by university institute

The game developers. Photo: Daniel Karavolos

The game developers. Photo: Daniel Karavolos

‘Something Something Soup Something’, developed by the University of Malta’s Institute of Digital Games and funded by a Maltco research grant, has  garnered the attention of the video game industry culminating on a feature in Kotaku one of the most globally prominent video game websites.

“Something Something Soup Something” was designed by Stefano Gualeni with the support of two of the Institute’s Master students: Isabelle Kniestedt and Johnathan Harrington.

The media attention centred on its innovative approach of “game as interactive thought experiment” addressing the unreliability and relativity of language and our methods of communication.

"The game is meant to demonstrate through the gameplay that despite our best efforts for precision in communication we are still faced with ultimately indefinite, shifting concepts. In short, nobody has a complete and definitive idea of what soup is, and trying to define it precisely might just be an impossible task," the designers explained.

"In the science-fiction-themed video game, your job is to serve soup. This, however, turns out to be no simple task: the aliens making the soup and teleporting the dishes back to Terra often misinterpret what they are supposed to produce. What the player decides to serve determines their definition of soup.

"The game draws attention to the fact that what you have chosen to serve as soup is different from what other players have chosen showing that the meaning of words is contextual and subjectie, despite using the same language and the same word. Players might even have doubts themselves about whether some fringe cases are soup or not."

The game has also been covered by Vice Brazil, PC Canard, a French print magazine, and a number of other venues across an array of different languages.

The game is the first project funded under a two-year agreement with Maltco Lotteries which will increase the opportunities of students in the field of digital games and help prepare them with experience on specific projects.

The Institute of Digital Games was ranked among the top 25 post-graduate game design programs by the Princeton Review in 2017 and this type of funding allows the Institute to ensure they remain among the top programs worldwide.

The game is available online here: http://soup.gua-le-ni.com/

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