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GameCity Festival Launched in Nottingham

1 August 06 words: Billy Hatcher

A new festival of interactive entertainment will take place in Nottingham city centre at the end of October

Computer gaming is officially the new rock and roll! As sales of video games now outsell music CDs, characters like Super Mario and Lara Croft are as recognisable among the kids as the Beatles and David Bowie were to previous generations. 
The popularity of gaming as a whole, has been increasing steadily ever since the mid 1980s and looks set to continue. But the average age of the video UK game player is now thirty, belying the long held myth that gaming is largely a diversion for teenagers. 
Video games have in fact, become the major cultural phenomenon of the last generation… so it’s only right that they should have their own festival to rival the likes of Woodstock and Glastonbury, right?
GameCity is a new festival of interactive entertainment which takes place in Nottingham city centre at the end of October. Organisers describe it as a ‘street-level cultural celebration of videogames and interactive entertainment’ and it’s open to everyone to come along and play.
The festival will be officially unveiled by Lord David Puttnam of Queensgate on Wednesday 25 October, in a special event in the Council House. Puttnam produced classic movies like Bugsy Malone (1976), Midnight Express (1978) and Chariots of Fire (1981) and in the eighties became the first ever European-born boss of the Hollywood Studio in Columbia. He commented; 
’I’m delighted to be able to open this first GameCity festival in Nottingham. Videogames are at the cutting edge of the future of the creative industries in the UK and it’s an index of the success of their journey into mainstream culture that something like GameCity is able to happen at all. It’s particularly appropriate that the event should be happening in the East Midlands, one of the regions most noted for its extraordinary successes in game development.
Indeed, the region is on the up in terms of video game creation. With the likes of Rockstar (creators of the Grand Theft Auto series), Core (creators of Tomb Raider Lara Croft), Free Radical Design, Circle, Eurocom, Monumental and Strawdog making a national impact, we have some of the brightest sparks in the UK industry on our doorstep. Alongside these the festival will bring together some of the old guard of gaming such as Sony and Electronic Arts, who will be unveiling their latest creations to the Nottingham public.

Events planned at the festival include:

The Arcade Trail : Play the Past
Fifteen shops and venues around the city will form a heritage tour of arcade game history, each hosting a different classic arcade game. You don’t even have to remember to bring change!
When? 25-29 October all day
Into The Pixel 
An exhibition exploring and celebrating video game artwork. Curated by industry veterans and experts from the art world, this will be the first ever showing outside of LA and is presented in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
When? At the Council House from 25-29 October and then moves on to A View From The Top (the gallery above the Waterstones) until 5 November. 
BAFTA and Lorne Lanning
With a background in Hollywood visual effects and having sold over five million games and gained worldwide recognition for his work in the video games industry, some could argue that what Lorne Lanning doesn’t know about movies and interactive entertainment isn’t worth knowing.In an exclusive keynote speech supported by BAFTA, videogames visionary Lanning will be sharing his unique perspective on the future of videogames. He will discuss the inspiration for his career in the industry and the realities that inspired him to create the stories and characters that ultimately became the multi-platinum selling and critically acclaimed Oddworld series of games.
When? Saturday 28 October at the Broadway Cinema, New College Nottingham and the Djanogly City Academy
High Score
Acclaimed director, Jeremy Mack will be screening the European premiere of his new documentary High Score. The film follows die-hard gamer Bill Carlton as he attempts to break the record for playing Atari classic Missile Command over two days without sleep.
When? 6pm on Friday 27 October at the Broadway Cinema.
Music at Kudos
Narco and Idiot Joy are two Nottingham exponents of punk funk (the latter featured on Bilboard posters in versions of Grand Theft Auto for those who look carefully). They have both joined forces with Free Radical’s Gong of Terror, to give you your chance to deliver a two minute pitch for an exclusive two-week internship with one of Europe’s greatest videogame developers. So, loud music and the possibility of a job at the end of it…
When? From 8pm on Friday 27 October at Kudos.

Game City website

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