Nottingham Trent University’s GameCity is an organisation that promotes videogames as both an art form and a unique proposition for modern entertainment. The merits of videogames as an interactive medium have been debated many, many times, and it’s not the intention of GameCity to retread this old ground. Instead, at this year’s ongoing GameCity festival, known as GameCity6, gamers, interested parties and general passers by are encouraged to pick up a pad and try something new.
Taking place over four days, 26th-29th October 2011, GameCity6 offers a schedule that encompasses videogames as an industry, a culture, an art and as entertainment. Situated at venues throughout Nottingham it’s as much a celebration of videogames as it is a chance for those unaware of the movement to find out just why it’s becoming so popular, and those already in the know to build upon their knowledge, with seminars offering unique insights into videogames development, marketing and communities.
GameCity6 is essentially an event spread across two fronts. The first, most immediate presentation lies in the very heart of Nottingham city centre, with both a large tent and a booth from Electronic Arts. Electronic Arts’ booth is hosting playable multiplayer matches of the highly-anticipated Battlefield 3, providing you are of the appropriate age of course, while the tent plays host to a number of different types of videogames, from the first student project coming to Windows Phone 7, Angry Mango’s Mush, to the forthcoming high profile release of Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD, but also is the stage for long-time GameCity supporters Crytek, and their CryENGINE 3 Level Design Competition.
At GameCity6, Crytek are offering fans of the industry to try their hand at developing their own levels to feature in a videogame. Gamers will have two hours to sit down and play around with the CryENGINE 3 Sandbox toolset, building an environment suitable for gameplay featuring vehicles. Of course, experts from Crytek are on hand to answer any questions and advise participants where necessary. A prize will be awarded to what is judged to be the most entertaining environment, and the competition is running all day long today.
The second front for GameCity6 is its many seminars and player-participant events. Highlights left to run today include the Frozen Synapse Pub Meet, in which attendees with have the opportunity to meet Mode 7, the creators of hit indie tactical videogame Frozen Synapse, and the 90’s Retro Game Night, a late night retro gaming session accompanied by the flavours of Nottingham’s Homemade Café.
Tomorrow is the final day for this year’s GameCity6, and something a little unusual is planned. This year the final day of the festival will play a part in the celebrations of the twenty fifth anniversary of one of the videogame industry’s most treasured franchises, The Legend of Zelda. Known as ‘The Legend of Zelda Takeover Day’, a number of specially themed events will be held throughout the day, building to the close of the festival with the GameCity Prize, in which the festival team will honour their most celebrated videogame title of the last year.
The videogames industry is slow beginning to receive more-and-more attention for being of cultural relevance to not just young male gamers, but for the UK as a whole. As this acknowledgment continues public events featuring interactive entertainment will become much more commonplace, but has now been the case for a number of years, GameCity remains at the forefront of the celebrations. With two days remaining, Electronic Theatre would advise anyone near Nottingham city centre to get out and see what the festival has to offer, and perhaps discover a new corner of videogame culture you never knew existed.