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NLGD Festival of Games

Elan Lee, Sicco Beerda, Joost van Liemt and Adrian Hon to discuss Alternate Reality Games.

UTRECHT, The Netherlands - June 5, 2009 - Elan Lee, Sicco Beerda, Joost van Liemt and the previously announced Adrian Hon will give keynote speeches during the NLGD Festival of Games regarding the phenomenon of Alternate Reality Games. ARG’s are games that blur the boundaries between reality and fantasy, and on- and offline spaces. Besides their growing popularity within the game industry itself, large commercial campaigns are using ARG's as a means of advertising to consumers.

ARG’s currently are a trend, but ten years ago, Sicco Beerda and Joost van Liemt made one of the first games in the genre for Nokia. The Nokia Game captivated the Netherlands for several weeks in 1999. Players searched for answers in an enigmatic mystery through the internet, radio and television commercials and via their cell phones. It provided Nokia with a legion of loyal fans and a lot of free publicity. At the same time, none of the participants viewed the games as a marketing trick.

Elan Lee has also been engaged with ARG’s for over ten years now. He is one of the inventors of the game ‘The Beast,’ which Microsoft launched concurrently with the movie A.I. from Steven Spielberg. ‘The Beast’ consisted of a quest for a fictional character. A phone number and several clues about a certain ‘Jeanine’ were hidden in movie ads. What the advertisers where hoping for happened: tens of thousands of people picked up the signals and started searching for clues. These people were players of the so-called Alternate Reality Game and nobody knew where reality stopped and fiction began. The ‘players’ received a brand experience that went way beyond any ad they had ever seen.

The speakers mentioned above will share their visions and viewpoints on the phenomenon of Alternate Reality Games in a historical and future perspective during the Game Conference, June 10-12, 2009 in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

During the Festival of Games visitors can experience what it means to invent an Alternate Reality Game during the workshop entitled Playful Tinkering. Participants can join the workshopwhether or not they have any experience, and play the games afterwards with the conference visitors. The most creative game will be awarded a prize.

The Festival of Games in Utrecht is one of the largest business and academic oriented game festivals in Europe. Besides the NLGD Conference, the Festival consists of a Game Development Rally for young development talent, the United Games Industry Party, several specialist workshops and summits, and Pitch & Match, where over 50 international and national companies join. Potential buyers and sponsors of games, including publishers, media companies and investors meet in a speed-dating format with game developers. The festival also includes the Control Career Fair, which attracts many companies looking for new employees.

More information about the NLGD Festival of Games can be found at: www.festivalofgames.org

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Ina Heijnen


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