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The Best Bet

Duncan Best gives <i></i> his thoughts on how this year's London Games Festival has turned out.

This year's London Games Festival is upon us, following on from last year's inaugural event. With a week that's packed with a range of different activities across the city, we hear from LGF spokesperson Duncan Best, who gives us his thoughts on this year's event.

Well, the London Games Festival is upon us, and I will soon be looking forward to some sleep. From a personal point of view these last months have been packed with the full range of emotions but, despite this, the Festival is an unmitigated success.

Putting aside the emotional elements, let's have a look at the facts. Firstly, with well over 50 events taking place, many of them for more than a day, the Festival is easily the biggest celebration of creativity in gaming the country, and possibly Europe, has seen. It has around 430 hours of events and attendance could well top 100,000 visitors.

Large public events like Microsoft's Jump In at the Vinyl Factory and EA's Be the One will ensure that visitors to our capital will know something big is going on.

Other events like the Golden Joysticks, Video Games Live, Ubi's FUSE 07 and the BAFTAs will ensure that the press is exposed to the depths of the games business' creativity and artistry.

But it's the diversity of events in the Festival that will make it a true success in this time of unbalanced representation in the media; the Festival has given the industry

the opportunity to showcase most facets of this intricate business.

It has everything, from the London Game Career Fair to the live production of an

ARG, and the latest research into brain interfaces.

This doesn't mean to say we've got it all right. For the LGF to truly rival the media and consumer impact of London's other festivals - Film and Fashion - the industry needs to switch from its traditional view that everything should lead to direct and almost immediate personal gain.

The film, TV, fashion and music industries have been doing it for years - investing together in showcases that improve and increase overall economy and perception of the business.

This doesn't mean there aren't direct benefits, but it seems logical to suggest that if the games industry can be tarnished with the brush of one or two games, then equally, its successes will rub off to everyone's benefit.

This year, sadly, we weren't able to meet all the publishers' needs for London spaces but this problem will be rectified for next year with the increased backing of the LDA, Visit London and the GLA.

For me, one of the highlights is EA's Be the One event in Trafalgar Square. Not just because it's huge, but because it lays out the direction for the consumer events at future festivals - the head of Creative London has suggested that all major publishers should be occupying famous London spaces in years to come.

Other highlights are the London Game Career Fair which is filled to capacity (something which the DCFS must be delighted by) and "Dr Kawashima is a great teacher!" - a fascinating report on educational and social benefits of gaming in Scottish classrooms.

Duncan Best is a spokesperson for the London Games Festival.

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