During last year’s London Games Festival, over 50,000 attendees flocked to over 40 different events across 20 different venues. The festival – now in its third year – has just returned to the city, boasting an impressive array of activities, speakers and exhibitions – all of which run from April 5th to the 15th.
Now, its easy to lose yourself in such a plethora of possibility, especially since the weather has started to pick up – shifting the blasted “bleak Blighty” cloud, thank god – and so, how about I give you a quick overview of some of the key events you should look out for, across ten days of glorious gaming admiration.
“NOW PLAY THIS”
This weekender event (which ran from Friday 6th to Sunday April 8th in London’s Somerset House) brought “the best of experimental game design from around the globe, from the 1990s to the present day.”
By moving through the exhibition, players were able to get their hands on a wide array of gameplay experiences, across multiple formats (tabletop, single and multiplayer).
These include: the presence of a Flatgame where attendees are allowed to create their own designs to become part of a game’s active development, running over the course of the weekend; the premiere of renowned artist Dan Hett’s newest game The Loss Levels, focusing on the aftermath of Manchester Arena Bombings; Kevan Davis’ Wikipedia: The Text Adventure, a text adventure created using live Wikipedia data, setting players off on an exploration of knowledge; and Roadmap to Peace from much loved creator Yar El-Sherbinim, which used two roads of intersecting Scalextric to depict similar roads in Israel and Palestine.
Looking to the upcoming week, the LGF will attact big name talent from developers around the world, eager to share their information about their creative process, in depth development knowledge, and diverse opinions as to the nature of video games and the role they continue to play in our daily lives.
These interactions will take place at Victoria House, at LGF’’s new HUB space, designed to foster creative partnerships and inspire people either to move further into the industry or introduce themselves to it for the first time completely.
Networking events and gallery exhibitions will take place here as well as a list of industry speakers including: Mike Wilson (Co-Founder, Devolver Digital), Andreas Gschwari (Associate Creative Director, Splash Damage), Andy Bray (Lead AI Programmer, Creative Assembly) and Anna Hollinrake (Games Artist) amongst others.
The HUB events do come at a premium (£99 for access to all summits, forums and panels) but based on the industry talent who’s going to be present, its sure to be worth it.
Things come to a climax on the bank of the Thames, when this years EGX comes to Tobacco Dock from the 13th to the 15th of April. This is London’s largest gaming event (think Comic Con draped in some East London chic) and as a result, the crowd offers a huge variety of players, developers and industry experts.
Its also important to remember that cosplay remains permitted on the show floor, so its time to drag my Jigglypuff out of the basement and blow off the dust.
The event offers a plethora of gaming delights including: playable PC and Console game stations featuring the likes of the upcoming “Below” (from Microsoft Studios) and 2Phoenix Point2 (from the creator of X-COM) amongst others; whole areas devoted to retro gaming; a schedule of guest speakers, from the world renowned Time Schafer to an intriguing discussion on the possibilities of the Playstation 5; various stores, career and networking opportunities, and an intriguing number of physical board games, including grown men fighting over Pokemon cards.
The event is sure to be a success and with tickets still on sale, there’s no time like the now.
So as you can see – even with this small handpicked selection of events – there’s tons to do and see across the London Games Festival. Get out there and get to playing!