a summit about romance,
love and sex in games

5th-7th of June - 2015

This summit aims to bring light and love to a somewhat controversial subject in games; even though romance, love and sex are some of the most natural aspects of human behaviour, it is not portrayed very often, or very well in games. We want to bring artists, developers, sound artists and creatives from inside and outside the industry together to celebrate, discuss and create within this marvelous topics.

Lyst is a conference that celebrates and centers around the topic of romance, love, and sex in games. We want to see games developed with more diverse stories, themes and game mechanics.

Join us


The Lyst Summit is all about idea creation and experimentation. Even though the subject is serious, the summit is playful and inviting and will yield great ideas and prototypes.


The endeavour of going to an island and dedicating yourself to the subject of Romance, Love and Sex in games will undoubtedly give an experience of a lifetime.


Our diverse, carefully chosen network of creative individuals inside and outside of the games industry forge invaluable relationships and perhaps future collaborations, over the course of three days.

The Island experience

This summit aims to bring light and love to a somewhat controversial subject in games; even though romance, love and sex are some of the most natural aspects of human behaviour, it is not portrayed very often, or very well in games. We want to bring artists, developers, sound artists and creatives from inside and outside the industry together to celebrate, discuss and create within this marvelous topics.

A funky concept needs a funky venue.
This is why we are hosting the summit's game jam on an island.

Read more about the venue

Lyst is a conference that celebrates and centers around the topic of romance, love, and sex in games. We want to see games developed with more diverse stories, themes and game mechanics.

Funded by

Nordic Culture Point


Amaze festival

Lyst Symposium - June 5th, 2015

Register for the symposium here

Jonatan Van Hove
will be the Conférencier during the event.

10.00 - Registration opens
10:25 - Welcome by the Organizers and Jonatan

There are many digital experiences thematically focused on sex or romance. Dating sims, Pinkie Pie Bukkake, Cunt Touch This, Fingle, Smart Kegel Exercise Aid are all different but somehow related. In this talk, Hanna Wirman will look at the field of sex/romance games through academic glasses and propose a way to classify the “classless”.
Read Hanna's bio
In contemporary society the meaning of family is constantly changing with rapidly evolving legislation relating to marriage, gender, sexuality & fertilisation. We will see how the nuclear family unit is represented in games in the past, the 21st Century and beyond.
Read Joy's bio

11.30 - Coffee break

Sex is an important topic that should be explored within all disciplines. I have been working with topics related to sex and the sex industry for five years within Performance and Interaction Design. Sex is changing with technology.
Read Sarah's bio
How can you use the magic spells already existing in the established LARP universe to improve the game and make it about themes such as love and teen-age anxiety.
Read Anna's bio

13.00 - Lunch break and Coffee

This talk covers the early development of the PINE (Playable Interactive Narrative Experience) game; ‘Fragments of Him’, and discusses how a single emotional moment was developed to form a prototype that has delivered an emotional punch for an international audience.
Read Mata's bio
In this talk, game designer and USC Games Associate Professor Richard Lemarchand will take a look at the entanglement of passion and play, on our computers and TVs, upon our tabletops, and in our lives.
Read Richard's bio

14:45 - Coffee break

How do we distinguish sex on a screen with actually having sex? New technology and media forms make possible both real and illusory interactions that can cause physical arousal and even mime the literal grasping and touching of sex, all in the privacy of the home. Photo Credit: Adrian Armas

Check out the Wonderlust Festival programme

Read Dale's bio

16:00 - Coffee break

Our codes of interaction, sex among them, are rooted on an ancient basis. Too ancient. Even with our expanded norms, the range of defining our interactions doesn’t have the range of options, mixing and matching, that you would find on an average RPG character sheet.
Read Pekko's bio
Enjoy a glass of bubbles and contemplate the informative day. Getting a ticket for ‘Lyst After Hours’ gives you access to that, but also allows you to join us Friday night after the Symposium at Vartiosaari island, where there will be an arcade, a delicious dinner and a party.
Buy tickets at eventbrite

Special thanks to Wonderlust for the 'Sex and the Machine talk' by Dale Cooper

Even though the programme officially starts from Friday, people are totally welcome from Thursday after 15:00 to acclimatize, socialize and to set up camp.

On Friday there will be the Symposium that people can join and after (final programme to be announced) we will take the boat to the island together.

Friday evening there will be a party, an arcade, a dinner, some games and the Game Jam begins.

On Sunday there will be presentations, voting and a small award ceremony.

But it's really just about creating a good and cozy working atmosphere and realizing new ideas. If you have a super important project, you are more than welcome to work on that too. We are aiming to be around 40-60 people.

Overall Programme

Island open for setting up camp
Friday (10-17):
Symposium day
Friday evening
Extra Symposium Programme
Drinks and mingling
Friday 19:
Boat to island
After Party
Game Jam Starts
Main Game Jam
Various activities during the game jam
Sunday 16h:
Game Jam Ends
Sunday Evening:
Presentation of games and party
Monday before 15h:
Packing up and leaving

Symposium location

Lyst Symposium is held at the WHS teatteri Union, Unioninkatu 45 LH 1-2, 00170 Helsinki, Finland

Game Jam location

This year’s Lyst Summit Game Jam will be held on the island Vartiosaari, Helsinki, Finland.

The island is an beautiful little island close to Helsinki. The island is inhabited by a handful of artists that kindly have lend us the island.

Image curtecy of Petri Ruikka

NB! There are public ferrys going to and from the island all the time, so it will be possible to go to town if needed.

The location is:
Vartiosaari, 00840 Helsinki Finland

What is Lyst?

Lyst symposium is a 1-day conference with inspiring speakers within the topics of romance, love and sex in games. See the programme from 2014 for more info.

What is Lyst Game Jam?

Inspired by jamming out at music gathering, so is game jamming. At a game jam, people with different qualities gather to develop a game within a very limited time constraint, usually 48 hours.

How does it work?

The game jam starts friday evening with a dinner where people get to know their groups, get an introduction and start brainstorming on ideas. The day's after (or during the night if you're ambitious) the development starts. During the two days we'll have some optional creative breaks with massage, yoga, swimming, exercises, games and whatever we can come up with. Sunday at 16h the game jam ends, we'll have presentations a final dinner and a party.

Isn't it just for nerds?

Well, if you by nerds mean people who are really passionate about a subject, then yes. If you mean people with bad social skills and big thick glasses and still living in their mother's basement, then only maybe. We don't judge :)

However, we will ensure a diverse and creative group in the participants. Making a good event is not just about the curated content. It is also about having a diverse and interesting composition of creative individuals. We are inviting artist and thinkers inside as well as outside the games industry.

I cannot draw/program/animate/xxx

Nobody knows how to do everything. And it is not needed to be an expert. You just have to bring your qualities and creativity and then we'll ensure that your team is composed optimally. That means that everything that you will need to develop a game will be represented in your team.

What if I already have a team?

You can apply for the game jam as a team. However, the participation to the game jam is on a selection basis, and we will evaluate your whole team on the same level as we would individuals.

Who is behind

The Lyst Summit is organized by non-profit organizations and people from Scandinavia. They all work with experimental games and public awareness in their own ways.

Copenhagen Game Collective is the initiator and the overall responsible organisation for the network. Copenhagen Game Collective is an experimenting game-and artist collective that challenges and breaks the known boundaries of games. Together with Leikjasamsuðan (IS), Hamar Game Collective (NO) - Spillmakerlauget Øst (NO), YKON (FI), Spillmakerlauget Øst (NO), Collaboratory (SE) and Kjell Håftén (SE), we will organise Lyst in the Nordic region.

Helsinki crew

Oliver:: specialized in
washing machine transport

Essi: production manager extraordinaire

Erno: Really knows where shit is!

Ida:: best 'pyro' (team fortress)
in Helsinki

Dr. Hanna Wirman is a Research Assistant Professor at the School of Design of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University where she teaches game design and development. Hanna researches emerging player groups and social innovation in games and leads educational and socially responsible game design and development projects working closely with the local community and NGOs in Hong Kong. Currently, Hanna's research approaches non-human animals as players. She builds games for orangutans' enrichment and for cross-species communication. Hannaserves as the President of Chinese DiGRA, on the Board of International Gender Design Network and on the Executive Board of Digital Games Research Association. She is the Director of Global Game Jam Hong Kong and the recently established DATE Collaborative Space (Design for Assistive Technologies and Education) at Hong Kong PolyU.

Joy Richardson has a background in Archaeology and Art History having been awarded an MA in The Archaeology of Art and Representation, specialising in non-binary gender. She first worked in the field of learning centres (libraries and IT) before moving into teaching; She has taught archaeology, art and history to both adult education and high school classes. She then spent several years working for the NHS in health research before moving to my current position at The University of Southampton. Here she works assisting research into the command team communications in submarines using a multiplayer video game simulator. She has been an avid gamer for nearly twenty years and is interested in combining her research skills with this activity. She has a particular interests in gender, sexuality, gamification and the representation of the past.

Sarah Homewood originally trained and worked as a Contemporary Dancer. Recently she has moved into the field of Interaction Design where she works with the body as the starting point for everything she does. She has been playing with the subject of sex within her performances and design work for four years, and still see lots more to explore.

Anna Westerling is a producer and a project leader, an engineer with a Master in industrial economy with specialization in software design from the Royal institute of Technology, Stockholm. This is complemented with Studies in theatre, media and computer science at Stockholm university. And finally a Second Lieutenant in the Swedish army.

Active in the Nordic larp and role-playing-scene since 15 years, as a producer, designer and more. Experience from working within the culture sector, such as museums, theaters and as a producer of games, books and conferences.

Mata Haggis is a multi-media storyteller, academic, and games designer with fifteen years of experience working in the creative industries. He started as an artist experimenting with the internet as a medium as well as a platform, before quickly expanding into animation and games development. He has worked on games with enormous budgets and games with no budget at all, and both types have been played by millions of people, and his animations have been broadcast across Europe.

He was recently appointed the Associate Professor of Creative & Entertainment Games at NHTV University in The Netherlands, where he has been teaching for the last five years. Outside of university he is collaborating with SassyBot Studio to create the PINE (Playable Interactive Narrative Experience) game ‘Fragments of Him’. He also writes fiction and non-fiction, and occasionally exhibits paintings. He has been a circus performer, taught classes on martial arts, and has a PhD in cyberpunk. He is a strong proponent of expanding games into wider fields of creativity, diversity, and narrative variety than they commonly occupy, and often speaks internationally on this subject.

Richard Lemarchand is an Associate Professor in the USC Games program, and the Interactive Media & Games Division of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. In addition, he is a game designer, a writer, a public speaker and a consultant. Between 2004 and 2012, Richard was a lead game designer at Naughty Dog in Santa Monica, California. He led or co-led the design of all three PlayStation 3 games in the Uncharted series, including Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, the winner of ten AIAS Interactive Achievement Awards, five Game Developers Choice Awards, four BAFTAs and over 200 Game of the Year awards. A passionate advocate of indie and experimental games, Richard has been involved with the IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games for several years, and organizes the annual GDC Microtalks.

Dale Cooper is a porn actor and avid gamer. Despite this, but more likely because of this, he has contributed to the Huffington Post and Lambda Literary Foundation, been interviewed by French public radio, appeared in a Bjarne Melgaard art installation for the Whitney Biennial in New York City, and had one of his homemade pornos shown at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Also a book he wrote something for is coming out later this year. He thinks all of this is very funny. He lives in Baltimore, the Greatest City in America, where he likes to watch the news on mute so he can pretend the news people are telling everyone what a great day he had.

Pekko Koskinen is a designer of reality games who also plays around with various forms of art. His works include fictional religions, ways of living, made-up societies... Most of these operations place within life at large, outside the traditional representative formats. He′s a member of Reality Research Center, and YKON, an advocacy group for utopian thought. Reality Research Center is an performing arts laboratory based in Helsinki, Finland. Consisting of artists from various fields, RRC focuses on the questions of common and personal senses of reality: What is reality? How can we observe, experience, describe, define, reflect, discuss, present or represent it? The events that RRC creates, whatever their form, are simultaneously works of art and tools of research.