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GameCity Liveblogging Diary (Days 1-4)

29 October 10 words: Duncan Heath
Our resident geek actually leaves the house for a few days
Maid Mario illustration: Rikki Marr



Over the last three days I've played, lived and breathed games, what little sleep I've had I've dreamed games, and if there had been a stall selling Beers of War and Sonic the Hedgehog crisps I'd most likely would have eaten and drank games too (note to self: next year, open concession stand). So at this point if you had told me Mario was having a birthday party in the Square and Pac-Man was running the streets of Notts, I'd say sure, why not? Time to investigate further...


Even the night after GameCity's One Night Left celebrations til the early hours, the party is still going on in the Square. Wii Sports, Mario Kart and Super Mario Land are being played with gusto by parents and kids alike, and cake and squash are being served up to partygoers. Luckily, I'm already kitted out with a real moustache - so there's no need for one to be slapped on by the face-painter in attendance. It must have been a heavy night, as both Mario and Luigi seem to have lost their voices. Shame. No interview there, then, but it's nice to see Luigi make it for his bro's birthday. It's a long way from Brooklyn. Or Italy. Or Japan.


Pac-Man, Pinky, Inky, Blinky and Clyde are just setting off from Broadway for some live-action Pac-Notts on the streets, turning Nottingham into a true Games City for the next few hours. So if you see a ghost, try not to panic - as there'll be a giant yellow pill-chomping circle along to eat him in a bit...



Just attended Iain Simons' Council House ballroom talk on current trends in the games industry, or should I say 'Interactive Entertainment' industry. As it tries to rebrand itself again, where does it leave us? Are we gamers? Or merely interactively entertained? Iain and the developers are now off to have a curry at the Mogul-e-Azam if you want a natter, and they'll be there again at 6 for a quiz. This is still GamesCity, though, and will continute to be so for the rest of the day...

Pac-Notts news: the best game played so far has had the hungry wakka-wakkaing orb surviving for over 12 minutes, eating all the power pills and a ghost! We salute you, you brave body-less circled monster, you.

Almost time to find out how Keita Takaheshi's been getting on with his playground design - am pretty eager to see how it's coming on, as the original design was kinda wild! Best get over to the Council House again for a nosey...



Keita's ideas for Sherwood's Woodthorpe Park's playground look the business. Sadly, some of Mr. Takaheshi's designs have had to have been reigned in a little by Health and Saftey, so we might not get to see that 20 metre high climbing frame or the giant bone catapult for dogs. Pity. However, he has promised to come back and help in competitions when it's done - up to and including dressing up in a mouse costume and running in his giant mouse wheel! Always tops to hear him speak. Although I am both a little worried and exited that he'd rather be redesigning a whole city than just design an urban playground. Notts Mrk 2, anyone?   



Town slowly filling up with zombies for Halloween boozery. Starting to feel a bit like a zombie myself. 'I've covered wars, you know'. Well, all of Games City. Nearly.

GameCity website




Long Games days, Long Games nights. But I must defeat (Shen) Long to stand a chance! Off to see Jonathan Blow of Braid fame, for an integration in the Council House ballroom on his new game - The Witness...


Puzzling stuff, there - very teasing in the sense of an epiphany that'll not be realised or hinted at until the game comes out! Hm, how can I unwind this frustration? Oh yeah - best go play some games!


Old-school gamers! Ever thought it was dumb how they'd just send one guy out into a warzone on his tod? Just been playing 24-player 1942 on the cinema screen in the Market Square. Bit busy! Never mind bullet hell, just working out which plane you are in a screen is complex enough! Same again on Zombie Village - which brought back fond memories of Smash TV! Go Projector Games!


Grabbed a bit of Skate 3 in the EA Games hub on the square - pretty much the only chance you'll get to do some ollys next to the Lions without Nice Mr Policeman moving you on. EA are selling games cheap in the trailer too!



Having a gawp at designer Adam Saltsman and musical games impresario and reviewer Rebecca Mayes, beavering away in the developers' roped-off enclosure. They've been captured in order to create a game fo the event from ideas and art from a Pac-Man-shaped suggestion bin that has been available for guests to contribute to. DO NOT DISTURB signs everywhere. I think only the stewards are allowed to feed them. Ooer! Saltsman has escaped! Hope the GC team manage to recapture him in time...


A rare chance next to listen to Nick Burton of, er, Rare - who will be nattering about we can expect from Kinect, their new motion-sensitive hardware app. Hopefully it'll be very moving. Better than all these puns, at any rate.


Kinect looks active - maybe a bit too active for my liking. The limber and agile having advantages at computer games? That's not the way we play! Looks lots of fun, though, and hopefully it'll be wheelchair accessible too. Big queue for Spy Party, so watched the kids playing Lego Universe, the new MMO game. Looks like it contains elements of all the other Lego games in one placem and gives you a chance to make stuff too, not just your  avatar. A veritable world of blockcraft. Ing.


GameCity website





Continue! Post toast, there's a big queue for the Spy Party launch. Not so discreet, these spies... if I can make it past the gate guard and other Council House defences and into the ballroom, then maybe I'll be able to find out more about Chris Heckler's new multiplayer game, which is being shown for the first time outside America...will update on this mission later...


Mission complete! Successfully blended with the crowd and found out more about Spy Party, which appears to be a subtle indie blend of The Sims and Silent Scope! Gamewise, the audience score after two games was one spy down, one civilian casualty, so we'll chalk that us as a draw for Nottingham Espionage...


Back in the main tent in the Market Square, there's the opportunity to play all manner of games again - from the cute fuzzy Mush, where I had to draw smiles on a touchscreen to make an orange puffball float about, to Toadal Carnage, which was 16-player Frogger with massive lorry crashes and pile-ups, Or you could check out the games library, which is a huge collection of some wonderful things called 'board games'. Best ask your Dad about them.


Presto Changeio! It looks like the talk on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been switched! Let's see what computer-game wizardry is pulled out of a hat in its place...


Just had a look into the design of Tel Aviv's Spiky Snail Games team's Confetti Carnival instead of Harry P. That'll be the time-flippy gooey-explodey game I was playing on yesterday. No release date on that one yet - looks like they're having way too much fun!



Quick break to watch's Lego Spider-Man 2 animation in the Council House! Tip top!


I'm in Antenna now - the very slinky bar that's attached to Confetti studios - just in time for a musical journey with a look into the creation of the soundtrack of Playdead's new game Limbo. Hopefully this won't be so spooky so close to Halloween...


Amazing to see so many people in such a silent bar! Also lovely to watch somebody actually play a game to play out the soundtrack rather than just play an MP3. Haunting.


Rushing on to St Mary's Church, after being intrigued by the Romantic (but highly mysterious) Encounter at Lee Rosy's. Am greeted by real Hogwart owls. Real, I assume, rather than CGI or pixellated ones. Not to sure on that one, but am about to be entertailed by James Hannigan in concert with some musical wizardry...



Well, wizards and computer games brought together in a church. Old media would have a fit... Almost halfway through these events now for thse few days - tired but so worth it so far! Besides, just enough time left in the day for a bit of Theramin Hero down at Antenna. Oooh! He's got lasers!



Not just lasers. LASER HARP. Playing Korobeiniki - the theme from Tetris, no less. Awesome.


 GameCity website



GameCity5 is well underway now, after a hearty breakfast and debate on the state of the (gameplaying) nation. As LeftLion's resident Geek Mythologist, I'm gonna be on hand to try and experience as much of the events on offer as possible. Upcoming this week, there's the super Super Mario cosplay birthday party, Pac-Man in town, enthusiastic two-player action with EA Sports and the name but a few. I'll be sending out updates throughout the day, but if you'd like to be kind to my phone battery you can always come down to the Market Square, grab an event guide, and get exploring this fair GameCity of ours. I'm off free-roaming for some more fun... Back soon... 

Lego Universe - one of the big names at GC5

I've spent a lovely half-hour being shot at by marines on the Crysis 2 stand in the Square. It's one of the big games being previewed at GC5 this week, and it you like your running-around-and-shooting-things, you're not going to be disappointed when it comes out in the Spring of 2011. And you need to keep your eyes peeled for this chap in town... 

I'm still in the big white tent in the Square. Let me describe it to you; at one end is a stage, which currently contains the obligatory Big Screen. There's a load of tables in the middle, which are currently being dominated by kids doodling on paper, as opposed to Industry bods trying to sell things to each other (one of the things that makes GC so different to the average gaming conventions), and dotted all over the shop are gaming cabinets and monitors and all manner of gaming gubbins. I'm currently moving some exploding goo forwards and backwards in time, if you must know.

I've just had my photo taken with Jack Black.  In the EA van to the side of the tent, they've got an Eye Toy-like contraption where you can get involved in assorted backgrounds. I went for Brutal Legend.

How's your dinner hour going? I've just been ground up by buzzsaws on the main stage, on a mad maze game. There are loads of independent developers on show here - my other favourites include one where you have to cover a town with a purple spray can, and the one where you get shot out of the sky by the giant floating head of Tony Hart. And I still haven't left the Market Square...


Round to the other side of the tent, to have a bang on EA Sports Active 2 before pretty much anyone else. After watching other people jump and down, I had a go at lifting a Wiimote about, and now my health bar needs refilling after all that health. Time for some food. Luckily, although it's Game City, I won't have to get it by smashing the council bins or nom it up off the floor after it gets left behind by conquered marauding scallywags. There's, like, shops here still. Resisting the urge to fill my bar at a bar, tho - so that's healthy! That should help the stats.


Wow - busy day! May have to go more rapid fire on the texts tommorrow to cover all this stuff! Almost missed mentions of the by PixelJunk and the team behind Braid. Dearie me, that's gonna dock me some xp! Gotta catch 'em all! The sun has set on this fair GameCity for Day 1, but the fat lady hasn't sung yet (we're actually now listening to a top rendition of the OutRun theme).

Final fantasy of the night is to be the One Last Laugh games comedy team with some gaming humour - along with the 'Nerds of a Feather' Goring and Stokes and Wil Hodgson down at Just the Tonic.

 GameCity website

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