It may only be in its second year, but Nottingham's GameCity is already establishing itself as the premier event for videogame culture in the UK. The relaxed festival atmosphere appeals to industry professionals looking to show their latest projects as well as those on the fringes of the business, carving out their own unique little niches.
With a welcoming attitude to newcomers, parents and especially students looking to start a career in games, GameCity looks to be doing a good job of offering something meaningful for everyone, and as it's held during half-term, it's likely to be lively from start to finish.
Two international developers are due to appear at the festival — Katamary Damacy designer Keita Takahashi and Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov. Takahashi will deliver this year's Vision Statement on Saturday October 27, discussing his unique perspective on videogames and showing off new project Nobi Nobi Boy in Europe for the first time.
On Sunday October 28 Pajitnov will be discussing Tetris with programmer Paul Carruthers, with GameCity showing the acclaimed documentary Tetris: From Russia with Love, holding a Q&A with the famed Russian designer, and also hosting an attempt to break the Tetris world record.
GameCity is also thinking locally with some of the UK's finest developers on hand to demo their latest projects. Frontier's David Braben will show off action thriller The Outsider and theme park sim Thrillville: Off the Rails, while Bizarre Creations will allow an early glimpse of next year's shooter The Club. And as part of the Play The Force celebration, attendees will be the first in the world to get hands on with the Wii lightsaber in Traveller's Tales' Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.
On a more practical note, Sumo Digital's Jacob Habgood will be on hand for a series of GameMaker Workshops, Rare's Ryan Stevenson will be discussing the art of Viva PiÃ±ata and SCEE's Dan Bardino will be talking about the challenges faced by sound design in various projects.
For those seeking more highbrow stimulation, every night of the festival will see current affairs magazine The New Statesmen host a panel discussing the key issues facing the games industry today, from realism and violence in games, to the UK's place in the larger global market.
With an open hands-on pavilion held in Old Market Square, where a giant Wii Tennis competition will be held on a big screen, and a full-scale LAN set-up offering prizes to the most skilled players, GameCity is making sure it appeals to those that just want to turn up and have some good old fashioned fun, too.
GameCity takes place October 25 — 28 in Nottingham. More information can be found at the official GameCity website.