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Swedish game industry wants video games recognized as 'cultural canon'

Trade association Dataspelsbranschen has selected 15 titles it believes should be commemorated.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

July 9, 2024

2 Min Read
Key artwork for Sayonara Wild Hearts
Image via Simogo

Swedish video game trade association, Dataspelsbranschen, has selected 15 titles it believes should be added to the country's "cultural canon" to improve recognition of the artform.

The list includes classic and contemporary titles such as Stugan, BackPacker, Ground Control, Minecraft, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, It Takes Two, and Sayonara Wild Hearts.

It was curated by a panel of expert historians, industry leaders, and academics following hundreds of nominations from the general public. Dataspelsbranschen has released the list after Sweden's minister for culture Parisa Liljestrand laid out plans to develop an official culture canon.

Although Liljestrand didn't specific which artforms would be included in that canon, Dataspelsbranschen began developing one for video games.

"Games should be recognized as culture for several reasons: games are culture to the players, who relate to them similar ways as audiences in other art forms," said Dataspelsbranschen spokesperson Per Stromback.

"Games are culture..."

"Games are culture to the game developers who have the same drivers as other creators: the will to express, create something new and communicate with their audience. Games are also culture to society as they reflect the world we live in and have a rich history which is now being recognized by museums and other institutions. Also games are unique in that they are interactive. For these reasons, we think it is fitting that games have a canon too."

Dataspelsbranschen noted its list has been released at a time when national game industries are fighting for economic and cultural recognition, and calls for video game preservation growing ever louder.

The full list can be found below:

  • Stugan, Developed by: Kimmo Eriksson, Viggo Kann, Olle E Johansson, 1978/1986

  • BackPacker, Developed by: Tati Mixedia, 1995

  • Europa Universalis, Developed by: Paradox Interactive, 2000

  • Ground Control, Developed by: Massive Entertainment, 2000

  • Battlefield 1942, Developed by: DICE, (Digital Illusions CE) 2002

  • Amnesia–The Dark Descent, Developed by: Frictional Games, 2010

  • Minecraft, Developed by: Mojang, 2011

  • Toca Tea Party, Developed by: Toca Boca, 2011

  • Candy Crush Saga, Developed by: King, 2012

  • Star Stable Online, Developed by: Star Stable Entertainment, 2012

  • Goat Simulator, Developed by: Coffee Stain Studios, 2014

  • The Battle of Polytopia, Developed by: Midjiwan, 2016

  • Budget Cuts, Developed by: Neat Corporation, 2018

  • Sayonara Wild Hearts, Developed by: Simogo, 2019

  • It Takes Two, Developed by: Hazelight, 2021

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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