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Festival schedule online at www.gamecity.org GameCity7

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HELLO THERE, AND WELCOME TO GAMECITY7! Guess what? This year, the festival is over TWICE as long as it was last year. I know! EIGHT days! Crazy, eh?

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o keep your spirits up following the excitement of the Olympic and Paralympic games, we’ve got more for you to do this year than ever. An ENTIRE halfterm of activities to help to ease you into the Autumn. Because there’s so much for you to do this year, it means that the newspaper you’re holding in your hand is once again here mostly as a guide, NOT a definitive programme. If you want to know what’s happening at GameCity, get yourself along to GameCity.org for the most up-to-date information, as new things are being added all the time - often as late as the day before they take place. We’re nothing, if not surprising. One of the most important elements of our event has always been the makers of videogames being around to talk to you. In previous years, they’ve always come to GameCity to show their work to you and chat with you about what you think about it. This year, we’re taking that a step further with our GameCity STEAM school. They’re not

just going to show you their games, they’re going to take them apart and show you how they work. Whilst there’s been a huge amount of concentration in the news about these videogames being just about computer science - but don’t be fooled, folks. At GameCity you’re going to meet artists, writers, musicians, designers, choreographers, animators AND computer programmers, all of them make a living from working in videogames. Pretty exciting, eh? This event is only possible because of the extraordinary hard-work of a small amount of people, the dedicated support of the people who come to share things at the festival and the unwavering support of Nottingham Trent University and our gorgeous partners. This is GameCity 7. It’s your videogame festival. It’s been designed and assembled with care in Nottingham, UK - especially for you. We hope you have a brilliant time. Iain Simons GameCity Director

Here’s an idea…

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ouldn’t it be brilliant if a University opened up its expertise and invited some of the most exciting artists, programmers, musicians and designers in the World to come and show their work to the public? How about then we organised unique live events that allowed everyone to not just experience cutting edge technologies, but to meet the people that created them and learn how they worked? Finally, what if the whole thing was made free so that as many people as possible could be inspired to learn more? Welcome to GameCity.

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Every year NTU brings the best in the World of videogames to Nottingham for a week of play and learning in October halfterm. This year, alongside the usual packedprogramme, we’re concentrating on learning. You might have seen in the news the recent changes to ICT curriculum being announced? The GameCity STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) School is our take on how we can inspire a new generation of talent to enter these fields. There are drop-in sessions and classes all over the festival, have a look at the website, register and come along. I know you’ll find something interesting. Finally, I just wanted to say a big thank you to all our partners, colleagues and most of

all our amazing NTU students who dedicate so much of their time and talent to make the event happen. Don’t forget, more than anything else, GameCity is an invitation to be interested. Who knows, perhaps next year you’ll be involved - as a steward, as a partner, running a session - maybe you’ll be turning up to show off the amazing game you created after being inspired at this years’ festival. Anything’s possible. Welcome to GameCity! Prof. Yvonne Barnett, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Head of College, Arts and Science at Nottingham Trent University

GameCity7 artwork by Philippa Rice / Brochure Design by tony-waddington.co.uk / Text by Quintin Smith Printed at The Guardian Print Centre, Longbridge Road, Manchester, M17 1SN


GameCity STEAM School Book yourself into FREE classes. Go to www.gamecity.org for more details

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“A game of audiovisual exploration and discovery...” 4

Proteus by Ed Key and David Kanaga

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E V I L S U E PROT

On Thursday 25th October in Antenna, GameCity will be projecting a supersized playthrough of Proteus, underscored live by David Kanaga and played by Ed Key. It’s the game of wandering and wondering that PC Gamer called “The best song they’ve ever played.” We sat down with Ed to find out what drives a man to make something so literally pedestrian. GameCity: Why are all these butterflies in here? Ed Keys: Oh, they follow me around. There’s one in my mouth! Agh. How many guns does Proteus have? None. NONE? How many levels does it have? Well, it’s got from sea level to cloud level. Hmm. Why make Proteus? It was chasing the same kind of feeling from the Elder Scrolls games. I think Oblivion was the one at the time. The worst one. [Laughs] But you could wander off the path and into a woods, and you might find some weird animals and a valley with a mysterious thing in it. There’s definitely a “scratching the itch” factor to it. What are you working on at the minute? We’re putting some new stuff in Autumn. Summer’s kind of a lively season, and in Autumn we’re going for more magical. There’s a reason Halloween is where Halloween is in the real calendar. Autumn is... it’s a time for storytelling. Do you find Proteus’ development changing according to real-life seasons? I remember when I was doing the day/ night cycle stuff when my working evening coincided neatly with the sun setting, the moon rising. Mirroring the outside world. That sounds like the programming equivalent of organic food. Seasonal coding, rather than seasonal eating? [Laughs] Yeah, there’s a bit of that. It’s certainly quite tied into the landscape where I find myself. I grew up in Cumbria, which was all nice hills and valleys. You see that in Proteus. Then Wiltshire, where I was living until I moved to Cambridge a couple

of months ago, that has a lot more of the stone circle type stuff... I find the flatness of Cambridge quite painful. I can imagine Proteus slowly shrinking downwards as I spend more time in Cambridge. “Flatter! Flatter! It doesn’t look right!” The game’s definitely picked up a little thread from these places. Or maybe it’s the longforgotten memories of my ancestors. It would be awesome if Proteus was you channeling some 4,000 year old dream, stuck in your brain like lint in a tumble dryer. We’ll go with that, yeah. When did you first receive the call to you to start coding? I coded some super basic things on a ZX Spectrum +2. I remember the first game I made was called Amoeba’s Revenge. You had to move a character from the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen while avoiding these green asterisks. It was completely unfair. One of these things would just spawn randomly every frame. I really should remake it someday. Why was it Amoeba’s Revenge? What happened to these poor amoebas? I don’t know! You’re delving, there. Are there any amoebas in Proteus? ...no. I should add some. How are you finding the famous Cambridge indie scene? Oh, it’s great! People should definitely get involved in these things. Twitter’s great for having that ambient background sociability, but people should meet. Even if it’s just two of you going to a pub the first Thursday of every month, you can get your laptops out, you can test stuff. My favourite painful thing to do in game development is to just sit someone down with something you’ve made and don’t tell them anything about it. You have to live through their suffering. It’s a real revelation to me. It’s what I bang on to everyone who doesn’t quite realise about it yet. It’s how you pick up all kinds of things with communication and interface. So you’re a fan of meeting real people to help make your virtual game, while the game you’re making is also having a very nice walk? It’s all so pastoral.

You know, I have this slight fascination with games as simulations. I’ve had people ask “Why make a game about going for a walk when you can just go for a walk?” That’s the same as asking why look at a painting of a mountain, when you can visit a real mountain. The idea that games have to avoid real life is a burden. We don’t know what games are yet. Why are we saying they “have to” be anything? Exactly! Have you ever been lost in wilderness in real life? ...no. I’ve probably been lost in a supermarket, or something... when I was a kid. Not recently. Not last week. No. Looking forward to this week’s Proteus: Live? Yeah! It was on a big screen at GDC and it went down quite well. Nobody threw fruit at the screen or anything. But I don’t want to play it. A redeeming pleasure of developing it is that it’ll sometimes generate a new island with a picturesque valley that’s never existed before, but it’d still be me “acting”. it’s much nicer if the people watching are the people playing. The Proteus beta is available at www.visitproteus.com

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“Twister for your fingers” GIRP by Bennett Foddy

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FODDY’S HY P O S O L I PH Bennett Foddy isn’t just the shimmering genius behind QWOP, GIRP and Pole Riders. He’s also a doctor of Philosophy at Oxford and a founding member of band Cut Copy. But for all his talent, the man behind these sadomasochistic indies couldn’t learn to code. We asked about his struggle... GameCity: You came to coding quite late, didn’t you? Bennett Foddy: Yeah. I had a ZX Spectrum as a little kid, which comes with Basic preloaded. I think I was just too young. Then later in the DOS era I had several more cracks at it. It used to be sort of, immensely complex. I never had anyone to teach me, and this was before the internet, before tutorials, and when I was younger I was just really impatient. I tried to make a game again at university, but the barrier for entry was still too high. Then I was working on my PHD, and finally as a combination of tools getting more accessible, the internet making information accessible, and me procrastinating with my dissertation I learned to code in 2007. You were earning a doctorate, but making a game seemed beyond you? The thing about writing a PHD is that there’s no error message when you write a few paragraphs. Even if they’re terrible. It’s not like they fail to compile. Part of what makes game development so compelling is you get that feedback, but the downside is that if you can’t get it to run, it’s very discouraging. Do you have no knack or passion for it at all? Would you describe yourself as someone who brute forced their way into coding? Oh, I’m sucky. I’m really bad. I did a physics and maths degree at university, but I was extremely mediocre and it’s very hard for me to bend my brain to those numerical tasks. But once you’ve got something up on the screen, you’re basically playing. Like, playing with Lego bricks? Exactly. You have that intrinsic motivation to keep building even if you’re terrible... I’m slower than everybody else, and my code is buggier than everybody else, but I get the same satisfaction. Do you ever get people at game jams seeing your code and being baffled by it? I don’t let ANYBODY see my code! But I do get

jealous at indie game jams of people like Terry Cavanagh and Stephen Lavelle who can code super fast. But it’s just a creative constraint, like not being able to draw or make music. What might you say to anyone wanting to learn to program? Uh, get some code somebody else has written and modify it! But also we’ve got these visual tools now. If you use GameMaker or Unity and follow a tutorial, you can have your own game up in minutes. You’ve been quoted as saying that to win at QWOP you need, among other things, “dignity”. [Laughs] With QWOP, I see a lot of videos from people who are proud of crawling from one end of the track to the other on their knees over an hour. I like that people are proud of that, but I think it’s funny. It’s like cheat codes. At that point you’re defeated by the developer. So if someone crawls to the end of QWOP, Bennett Foddy is the real winner? Put it this way. Most developers would have “fixed it” so you couldn’t crawl. How does your extensive work within philosophy affect your game designs? I think GIRP applies basic lessons as to how people get engaged and addicted to video games. But that’s science, not philosophy. I understand philosophy in a very broad way. Philosophy is taking knowledge from any source, be it science, or video games, or the humanities, and thinking about it and reasoning with it. But you applied some lessons of that to GIRP? Well, one of them is that you feel more embodied as a character if there’s a memetic relationship between the input and feedback. In GIRP’s case, the keyboard is an analog for the cliff. You’re both gripping a flat surface. You released CLOP recently, too- what is it that you’re continuing to chase with these comedy movement games? One of the things that I really like in games is a literalness of design. So, people always talk about a difficulty ramp in games. In CLOP, the joke is that the difficulty ramp is literally a ramp. People talk about difficulty spikes. In VVVVVV, there’s a difficulty spike on the second screen. More seriously, if you want a rule or relationship in a game you’ve

got two choices. You can either have this abstracted system where the player has to be told about it, like a meter or number or heads up display, the most common one being the health bar... but it’s very much outside of the video game world. It’s an overlay. Now, think of a sport like sumo wrestling. Game over is when you’re outside the ring. It’s actually in there. What draws me to the physics games is that by nature of the physical simulation, it’s easier for the player to understand what the rules are. But there are lots of solutions. Isn’t the cleanliness you’re talking about something of a philosophical approach to game design? Getting down to the real earth of a game? That would be a way of putting it. I like a game to be a pared back, pure vision of what the mechanics are. Why not go full time with games? I think the answer is that I like my academic job, and the people that I work with. I also have a funny attention span. I can get bored of making games and not want to make one for several months. I get that with all of my hobbies. Wow. If your many and varied achievements are just the result of a poor attention span, that’s kinda heartening. I can’t stick with anything. It’s a failing. There’s a theory that what we call personalities are simply the consequence of countless brain defects. Yeah. And if you stay at the same job for 40 years, perhaps that’s a failing too. But the jack of all trades thing is something I do have to work to temper. I’ve read that when you first started making games, you kept it quiet from the people at work. Is that an indictment on video games? It’s an indictment on academia. Philosophy is full of people who have an aesthetic of the “classic”, or the old. They like books. They all have no interest in video games, or they say they’d get so addicted that they can’t even try one. Which is just ridiculous to me. But you do pay a provisional cost to be a philosopher who likes video games. Now? When I put CLOP out – and I wasn’t subscribed, so I didn’t know this - it went out in the Oxford University Bulletin. It’s just hopeless trying to keep it secret.

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2003 Burned out Kieron comes staggering from the PC Gamer offices, charred tatters of a once-green suit crumbling from his shoulders. He goes freelance, and begins working on comics.

2007

2010

Co-launches Rock, Paper, Shotgun, on the principle that there isn’t a half-decent PC gaming site.

Rock Paper Shotgun is a huge commercial success. “My work here is done,” declares Kieron, before disappearing down a manhole cover to convene with the sinister lizard beings that run Marvel Comics.

2001 Kieron’s apex working for PC Gamer, writing 37 pages a month for the magazine.

1997-98

1998 Kieron abandons this glittering career in applied biology to be a games journalist. He stays in Bath and spends the summer wearing suits bought from charity shop. “It was some kind of statement. I can’t remember what.” He applies for a job at PC Gamer wearing a green suit over a slayer t-shirt. He gets the job.

Kieron ends his degree studying schizophrenia in a lab in Denver, dissecting brains. “For science,” he says. Later that year, he is arrested as a murder suspect.

1995 First freelance journalism assignment! A review of the A500 version of X-Com. Kieron isn’t a fan.

1991 Kieron works for his Dad as a bricklayer, instilling him with a life-long fear of honest work. “It rained a lot. You had to get up early. It was an honest craft. All these things repulsed me.”

1975 Kieron born in the town of Stafford in the West Midlands. Across the UK, early home computers simultaneously switch themselves on and begin keening, stopping just as suddenly.

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1994 Kieron abandons this glittering career in game design for a degree in applied biology, moving to Bath.

1993 Four of Kieron’s friends work out a way to hack a 4 player adaptor into an Amiga in AMOS. Team 4½ is born, mocking famous Amiga developer Team 17. Kieron converts Advanced Lawnmower Simulator from the Spectrum to the Amiga, which ends up on the Amiga Power magazine coverdisc. Kieron creates an innovative 4 player Amiga battle game. Being Kieron, he fills the level names with anti-fascist imagery. Being English, he calls it “Blimey!” The sound effects are sampled from Aliens. Every time one of the players dies, it plays the full 30 seconds of Private Hudson’s death screams. It is never reviewed.


Y U G K O O COMICB n Kieron Gille Father of modern games journalism. Owner of hyperbolic t-shirts. Comics writer for Marvel. GameCity: Hello? Kieron Gillen: [Sound of electro pop, muffled shouting, music stops] Sorry! I was listening to Churches. We could start the interview with that. Go for it. By what point had you gotten hooked on games writing? KG: When I was making Blimey I used to have a kind of Amiga Power menstrual cycle. Once a month I’d get twitchy, and if I passed a newsagent I’d have to stick my head in. Even a few days before, because they could have had it out early, even though it being Amiga Power it was regularly late. I was like this for between seven and ten days of every month. How did games writing in the 90s differ from now? Was there still this cry for it to “grow up”? KG: I’ll tell you how it didn’t differ, which was page rates. They haven’t changed in 20 years. The amount of money being thrown around gaming was literally scary, but the writing? Nah. Do you believe games writing is getting better? Yes. Absolutely. So is it harder for aspiring games journalists to catch a break through talent alone? [Thoughtful pause] It’s tricky. Post noughties onwards, it’s about the growing concept of niches. I loved Amiga Power in the 90s because it was aggressive enough for me to fall in love with it, relatively jovial- I loved the tone. Then there were the first Edge adverts. Big half-page ad, black, white text, “You may not like Edge. Edge isn’t for everybody.” Was I sold. “I’m not everybody!!” But fundamentally, back then it was about tone, and all games mags were the same. Now, every site caters to different communities. People will say “Game writing is awful,” but they’ll say this while being loyal to their one site. Do you think being involved in comics and music has helped your games writing? I think cultural literacy is paramount to being a critic. You draw from different experiences,

you draw links between ideas, and you try to synthesize them. For me, as somebody who liked music criticism... I was 16, 17 before I started reading the music press properly. I somehow thought that I’d be stopped from buying a music mag if I tried. “Sorry sir, it’s not for the likes of you, y’big spotty Games Workshop oik.” But by reading it - and I’m talking about the music press in the 90s, which was entirely different. It was liberal education for working class kids. All the writers threw every piece of philosophy they’d heard about into their pieces, and there was where I heard about situationalists or whatever. When I came to games journalism, I was aware I was lifting tricks from the music press and applying them to games... There’s a bit in Paul Morley’s Words and Music where he talks about wanting to be a music journalist in the 70s. Being a music journalist is, in its own little way, like wanting to be the world champion boxer. The heavyweight champion of the world. Point being, you went into the medium to be the best and to push things forward. I’d really dissected games journalism before I started. The critical eye I applied to games, I also applied to games writing. I knew why I preferred a Stuart Campbell piece to a Mark Ramshaw piece. At 22, 23 I was pretty monstrous. I had this t-shirt I used to wear around Future [Publishing], black t-shirt with a slogan across the chest, “Kill Bad Writers”. And I did this solely to wind people up, because I realised I was better than most people. Now I realise I wasn’t. You don’t think you were? I probably was. But I wasn’t anywhere as good as I thought I was. I had a few tricks, a lot of it heart-on-sleeve-ism. I wince at some of it, but it was a very 21, 22, 23 way of writing. How did Rock, Paper, Shotgun come about? I was kind of conflicted when Jim asked me to do RPS, to be honest. I was half out the door, and this would take away from my chance to do independent comics. I’m aware that there’s a shelf on my wall with about four fingers of comics that I didn’t do, because instead I did RPS. Don’t you think of RPS as your legacy? I do. I’m definitely philosophical about it because RPS pays me really well. It’s a commercial success. Same as any magazine.

There was a time when I was working at PC Gamer, and it was making £3,000,000 a year. We had a kind of awareness of that, and how hard we were working on our £14-16k a year wages. But yeah, RPS felt good. Being a writer, carving something from the firmament. One thing I’d never done as a games writer was launch a magazine, and this was a chance to fill in the gap. It was a chance to show people what we were talking about. And lo and behold, we did! RPS has achieved, for literally no money, commensurately with what other sites have done with several million pounds of investment. But it was also a case of people forming a band because they were the people in the pub at the time. You’ve agreed to be one of GameCity’s teachers. What might you impart to a freshfaced young games journalist? Pfft. Stupid stuff. Like this isn’t just playing games all day. Would you argue it’s caring all day? Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s your ability to take a lot of criticism. I guess I’d ask them, is this your career, or is this your art? Because great criticism is art. Or better yet, what sort of games journalism do you want to do? Because if you can’t answer that question, I’m not sure this is your career. www.kierongillen.com

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2011

2008

2003

Alice drifts to Morocco. Is there more to life than this? Maybe, maybe. She comes home, teams up with a handful of great people, and launches Lady Shotgun.

Goes to work for Creative Assembly for a couple of years.

Alice is set to work on the official Alias game. “It was typical. ‘We want something exactly like Splinter Cell, but we want it in six months, and we’ve got this halfworking engine and no tools. Can you get on with it, plz?’ We were doomed to fail from the start, so it was very depressing. Very demoralising. But the management felt that just coming down to the studio and shouting at us. I nearly quit games after that.”

2004 New job at SCI (later Eidos (later SquareEnix)), working first with Rogue Trooper, then Tomb Raider, then Hitman.

2000 Goes to work for Acclaim in Teesside. “So I went from Camden, which was cool, to Teesside. And I don’t want to badmouth Teesside, but. It. Well. Yeah.”

1997 MA at Bournemouth university, doing the first game design course in the country, the very first year they ran it.

1998 Lands a job at Psygnosis, in Camden, London, due to her work with Quake mod scene. “It was a brilliant first job. I kept expecting anyone would come in at any moment and expect me to sling my hook.”

1990 ...NOBODY KNOWS. Anna gets a job in a factory putting resistors into circuitboards.

1985 1984 12th birthday! Anna is bought a Spectrum, because her parents thought it would be educational. She falls in love with JetPac, Horace and a game called Atic Atac by monstrously named company “Ultimate Play the Game”. They are later renamed “Rare”.

A year spent copying machine code from magazines into the Spectrum, learning to code in Basic and making games, foreshadowing a career in... what, exactly...

1993 Anna’s orbiting of her eventual career reaches hammer throw force. She goes to uni in Westminster, doing a course in photography and digital art. She discovers she’s rubbish at photography while making levels for Doom in her spare time.

1978

1972 Anna born in Beeston, just outside Nottingham. The very same year as GameCity headteacher Jonathan Smith. COINCIDENCE? Yes, yes it is.

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Fuzzy memories of a Northern winter. It is snowing. All of Anna’s family has gone sledding, but she wants to stay home and play with her cousin’s amazing machine. Later, she learns it was a Atari Home Pong console.


CHIEF SHOTGUN Anna Marsh The GameCity headteacher with the most storied career, Anna Marsh has worked for more game developers than you’ve had hot dinners. Probably. Hot dinners aren’t easy to fact-check. Once the Executive Designer of Tomb Raider, Anna currently supervises her very own studio, Lady Shotgun, as they work on their inaugural iOS title. GameCity: Do you remember games always being such a male-dominated industry? Anna Marsh: Well, no! This is the funny thing. I don’t remember it being like that at all. I would play games, and a lot of my female friends had Spectrums or Commodore 64s, and we’d swap games and tape them, because they were on audiotapes, which was very naughty. But there was nothing unusual about it. A geek’s a geek. When I did IT GCSE at school, and there were more girls doing it than boys. I think the gender issue came later, when games became more commercial and marketed. To me, the forces of marketing are responsible for targeting it at a masculine audience. How did your own development team, Lady Shotgun, come about? Do you like shotguns? The funny thing is, I’m more of a sniper. In games. Obviously. Not in real life. I used to work with somebody at Eidos who was a shotgun aficionado, but I actually got the name from Lady Whirlwind, with Angela Mao. An old Hong Kong action film. What happened was myself and Sarah [van Rompaey, Producer] started having these discussions about how we don’t need a lot of capital to start a company, we don’t need an office, we don’t need to pay big wages and we could do this as a co-operative of freelance developers. And that’s win-win for us, because we don’t have a lot of capital, and I’m not into this idea of running a business purely for profit which just goes to the shareholders. And when you boil it down, it doesn’t matter what any of these big companies say they’re gonna do. The decisions are all made by the shareholders. They’re not being run to make decent games, but to make profit. I should say that myself, Sarah and Gabby, our Lead Artist, are all mothers, so this structure would let us be flexible. I had this idea for a game, we all said “Let’s do it,” and we’re running the whole thing working part-time from home.

You make it sound like a mod team. Yeah, and I was doing a lot of that a very long time ago. But as long as you’re very organised, it’s a very realistic way to work. Big companies want to control you. They want to see you sitting at your desk and working long hours... Obviously we have the problem of discoverability to overcome, but these days, with digital distribution, you can work as a small team. The big companies have become so risk-adverse, while small ones have this new opportunity to do something different if they want to. Do you feel like you got a rough deal working for the big companies you did? Not at all, no! Acclaim was a nasty experience because it was the worst the games industry can deliver, and it can be depressing when projects are cancelled, but I’ve loved what I’ve done. I don’t feel like I got a raw deal, or that I’ve been at all at a disadvantage being female. One thing I will say is that it’s very hard to juggle childbirth with traditional studio work, because it’s such long hours in physical locations... When you’re young and single, it’s fine to work 14 hours and sleep under your desk. But it becomes a problem for everybody, and it’s exaggerated because in our society it’s usually the mother that sorts out the childcare. There are other ways to work that would allow a whole range of more diverse people to work in the industry. It’s heartening to hear that you’ve worked for so many different companies, but never once felt disadvantaged. Well, there are a couple of occasions, but they’ve just been such stupid people with no real power that it’d be pointless to dwell on them. I think the issues are a little more far-reaching- again, this whole issue of marketing. I’ve got a daughter who’s five years old and I’m horrified every time I go into a toyshop at the range of toys that are marketed at girls. So early on they’re being shoehorned into this... you will like pink, and want to be a ballerina and play with an... ironing board. What is that all about? I can’t understand the mentality of people who’d buy their daughters toys like that. And it seems so much more extreme than when I was a girl, this... genderfication? Is that a word?

Unreal Tournament. Getting headshots was always fun in that. Halo has good headshots. Getting any headshots with a sniper rifle, really. Because it’s all or nothing. Because it’s all or nothing. But also because you’re firing from a reduced angle, so you can feel very clever about yourself. Do you know what your talk’s going to be about? It’ll probably be some indie-developer-savingthe-world talk. I’ll try and tackle it in a lighthearted way, but... if people are doing things they believe in, instead making games just for the money to give it to some shareholders who’ll put it in a offshore account then you’re always gonna get a better product, aren’t you? Which is better for everybody in the long run. www.ladyshotgun.com

Why do you like sniping so much? It’s about the headshots, isn’t it? I remember

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2003 Jonathan journeys over to Lego to help with Lego Star Wars. How was that? Awful? Dreadful? “...that was brilliant. They were bringing in new people to talk about how to do Lego games in a different way. Like all right-minded people my imagination and brain was shaped by Lego when I was younger, so that was an amazing opportunity.”

2011 The present. Jonathan is Head of Production at Traveller’s Tales.

2001 Helps to oversee the development and launch of Operation Flashpoint, Bohemia Interactive’s legendarily ambitious and buggy soldier sim. Was this, at last, a tough job? “It was good fun,” chirps Jonathan. “They were so talented, as has been proven with time gone by.”

2000 Partly off the back of the poster, Jonathan secures a job as a designer at Codemasters, “Having asked too many times in reviews ‘Why did they do it like this?! How stupid can these people be?!’ If you ask that enough then you just have to find out.”

1999 Accepts a freelance assignment to do a covermounted book on the history of video games for PC Gamer. “It came with a big A2 poster that some people may remember. It looked like the wall you see when the detectives break into the psychos house, with lots of lines going everywhere.”

1992 Strikes out into the world! Gets as far as Bath, landing a job on a magazine called “Mega” (because, disappointingly, it reviewed Megadrive games). Foreshadowing his future career for a toy company, Jonathan describes it as “a fantastic culture. We had wonderful games to write about and we had a terrific time.”

1980 Encounters first video game at a county chess tournament. A cabinet of Space Panic, the first ever platform game. “You had a spade you hit aliens on the head with,” remembers Jonathan. “You were peering into this box at something that was colourful and moving, and it was responding to you. It was a magical thing. It still is.”

1972 Jonathan Smith is born! To a woman, probably. We forgot to ask.

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BRICKING IT Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith is the designer you want to be. From contented journalist, to aspiring designer, to Head of Production at Traveller’s Tales, his career has a rainbow-like arc that’s most recently carried him through six years of critically acclaimed Lego games. As one of GameCity’s head teachers, he’ll be sharing secrets of his success all week. GameCity: Talk about working for Lego! Jonathan Smith: Lego created an amazing environment to think the unthinkable. “What would happen if you didn’t really die?” No- we needed to make a game that was truly accessible, that had depth, and strived to be something that we loved to play ourselves, but also delighted a 6 year old. That environment enabled us to play and then, together with Travellers Tales, build a first prototype of Lego Star Wars. Could you talk about how you pulled that trick off? Lego Star Wars impressed everyone who played it. There was a year spent in research, at Lego. That just conjures up images of grown men in children’s play pens. I’ve got videos of people diving into pits of Lego! A full, immersive baptism in spiky ABS. So that happened. But if you’re connected up on the academic side of games discourse, you’ll know that a lot of it can be pretty abstract. It’s only when it has to be applied to a commercial product that things become real, and, I think, even more exciting. It’s great to talk enthusiastically about concepts, but when you see an animated character that you can control, or you’ve got a game that’s going to sync up with Star Wars: Episode 3, that’s when it goes to a different level. We were lucky, and we were part of a talented group at a special time. We were also blessed with the indulgence that we got from Lucasfilm. We went over to show them somewhat chewing our fingernails, with this game that would allow you to mix up characters from different films, but right from the start their enthusiasm gave us the space that we needed to put play with that in the way that we wanted to. What games have you worked on since then? Lego Star Wars 2, Lego Star Wars: The

Complete Saga, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Batman, Lego Harry Potter years 5-7, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, Lego Star Wars 3... What’s been the trickiest part of your career in design? Every game brings new challenges, because every game we strive to do something new. It would have been easy but fatal to have settled early on to a factory approach to Lego games. No-one involved in development wanted to settle for that. We get bored too easily. Every game brings very distinct new challenges. We’ve been lucky that we’ve been able to move into new worlds, as well. The world’s favourite stories and characters! What a privilege to be able to jump from DC Comics to Lord of the Rings. It’s been said that you’re big into board gaming. What could video games learn from that field? Social mechanics is the obvious answer, but as you probe what that actually means and look at the innovation within asymmetrical board games, we’ve got different tempos of turn taking, different forms of interaction... I think there’s a lot that both could learn from each other, and a lot still to be invented. Would you advise hot young game designers to get involved in board gaming? I think having fun with other people is always a good thing to do. Is that the summation of your advice for designers? “Have fun”? I think that’s good advice for human beings, regardless of their career aspiration. Particularly have fun with other people. That’s a really good idea. OK. Let’s say the apocalypse occurs. You’re living in a dark future where games are banned, andNo games? Or do you mean all forms of play? There are government sponsored toys and sports programmes, because that’s considered healthy. But England’s at war, and there’s simply no time for frivolous activities. What would you do with yourself? I’d be an archaeologist of games. I’d be a veritable Indiana Jones, searching for the remnants of this lost culture, trying to preserve and reclaim it.

That’s a dangerous career. The secret police are knocking at your door. They’re asking questions, Jonathan. [Extremely long pause.] If I needed to create a secret society, with a secret handshake, a secret code of conduct, then that’s what I would have to do. I don’t know if you’ve got what it takes. What would your secret handshake be? It would be to firmly grasp the hand and tap out a cheat code. Do you think kids gets a hard time in gaming? There always has been a sense that games not oriented towards the hardcore deserve less attention and investment. We set out precisely not to do that, and demonstrate that could lead to success. I’m surprised and delighted that more people haven’t copied us. Oh no! The secret service have crashed through your front door. You have to flee the country to a secluded island. What’s the one game you take with you? I think Lego Rock Band. Music’s very important to having a fun time, and for all that people may have forgotten about Rock Band and the brief vogue for peripheralbased music gameplay, that’s still an experience I’d use to demonstrate the pinnacle of people having fun together. That conjures up an image of a sort of... closing helicopter shot of you playing guitar alone, on an island. I’m ALONE? I think if I were alone and I started playing Lego Rock Band then gradually people would come and join me. Even the government. They’d be won over. They’d lower their weapons, and they’d pick up guitars.

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PETER MOLY N GAME HUNT EUX’S

Peter Molyneux has been making amazing videogames for over twenty years - here are just a few... Populous (1989) (designer/programmer)

Videogames are all around us. On our televisions, our phones, our computers - some of them we can play for months, days, hours - some of them only last for seconds. But have you ever wondered where they come from? How do they start?

F

or one of the most acclaimed videogames designers of all time, inspiration for videogames is all around us - and he wants you to come with him to discover some. Peter Molyneux is coming to GameCity to take a lucky group of people on a STEAM school field trip, heading out into the wild to

look under rocks, peer deep inside hedges and seek out the beginnings of some videogames. Working together with Peter, this group will capture and develop some brand new game ideas to present to the public at GameCity. This is your chance to be around at the birth of some videogames...

Syndicate (1993) (producer) Theme Park (1994) (project leader/lead programmer) Black & White (2001) (concept/lead designer/programmer) Fable (2004) (designer) The Movies (2005) (executive designer) Fable II (2008) (lead designer) Fable III (2010) (lead designer) Curiosity: What’s Inside the Cube (2012) (lead designer)

HOW DO I TAKE PART? ONE.

TWO.

THREE.

DOES IT COST ANYTHING?

WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN?

You can’t go on a game hunt alone... If you’re a young person, you’ll need ONE parent or guardian with you - if you’re a parent or guardian, you’ll need ONE young person you’re responsible for with you (think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, yeah?)

Get yourself over to GameCity.org - read and understand all of the details about the Game Hunt and enter your details into the Peter Molyneux’s Game Hunt page.

We’re really sorry, but we can’t take everyone so we’re going to have to pick the participants at random from those who’ve registered. We want this to be a brilliant experience for as many people as possible - but that means we have to limit the amount of people who can come on the Game Hunt (think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, yeah?)

Yes. But not much and far less than it’s worth. It’ll tell you all about it on the site.

On Tuesday 23rd October at around midday, we’re going to put you on a (probably magic) bus with Peter Molyneux and take you somewhere BRILLIANT. Whilst you’re there, you’ll discover some games. You’ll get back on Tuesday evening, just in time for the special festival launch event!

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Look what happens when GameCity and Page 45 go on an adventure

MONDAY FROM 7PM ’Decompressed Live’ Podcast event with Kieron Gillen and Antony Johnston

MONDAY FROM 4PM Kieron Gillen: Writing for comics workshop

MONDAY FROM 4PM Antony Johnston: Writing for games Q&A

TUESDAY 10:30AM Kieron Gillen discusses Interactive Fiction

TUESDAY 12:30PM Mike Bithell Gets The Help He Needs. Kieron & Antony give Mike Bithell some advice about writing for games, based on their playing of ‘Thomas was Alone’

TUESDAY 2:30PM Comics to Consoles Panel session

TUESDAY 5.30PM ONWARDS Signing at Page 45, 9 Market Street NG1 6HY

Come and visit us at www.page45.com

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WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? GameCity knows that videogames are an important, interesting and valuable part of mainstream culture. Everything we do at the festival, we hope, acts as an open invitation to everyone to experience, explore and engage in not just videogames - but the culture than surrounds them. We’re not really about playing videogames, we’re about where videogames meet the rest of the World. In 2011, we had an idea to try and create a new project within the festival that would provoke different kinds of conversations between videogames and the mainstream media. Videogame awards already existed of course, some were held in great esteem - but they were largely judged entirely by videogame experts and usually funded by the games industry itself. What if we created an award for videogames that totally disregarded genre or budget, and was judged by thought-leaders from other creative industries. That way we’d get very different, very honest responses which were about videogames’ relationships to other areas of culture and hopefully start to break the feedback loop of gamers talking to other gamers about games. That’s what we’re trying to do with the GameCity Prize.

2011 WINNER: Minecraft Developer: Mojang Publisher: Mojang Platform: PC/Mac Genre: First person, Sandbox After the world was taken over by creepers, covered in lava and public transport revolutionised by pigs wearing saddles, it’s

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THE PUBLIC WEIGH IN This year, we’ve been working hard at trying to make the Prize more inclusive than ever. Earlier this year, we invited you to make suggestions for videogames that should be included on the longlist through submissions at the Prize website. The response was fantastic, with fans of particular games submitting impassioned pleas (and in some cases, drawings and poems!) to make the case for their favourite game. All of these nominations were fed back to the Academy, who considered them all carefully as they made their longlist, then shortlist selections. For 2012, seven games have been nominated that really reflects the diversity of what videogames can be, which are going to make for fascinating discussion with the Jury.

That’s what the GameCityPrize is really about - new conversations about videogames.

little surprise that the inaugural winner of the 2011 GameCity Prize was Minecraft, by Mojang. A mix of work and play, the sheer scale of Markus ‘Notch’ Persson’s creation still has it hooks firmly attached to the masses, and is now enjoying a transition from bedrooms to classrooms with MinecraftEdu touring schools. This world of infinite possibilities is only limited by your own creativity, which will no doubt have thrived because of this game.

“I’m delighted to be chairing the Jury of the GameCityPrize 2012 with a group of wonderful colleagues from all corners of creative excellence. The videogame industry is one of the most creative industries in the world, and yet still struggles to participate in mainstream culture in a non-trivial way. The Booker, the Mercury Prize, the Palm d’Or - serious cultural forms need barometers to record and celebrate excellence. The GameCity festival and it’s accompanying Prize fill that gap in the cultural calendar, and provide a much needed call for videogames to both be taken, and to take themselves more seriously.” Lord David Puttnam (chair)


THE JUDGES CHARLIE HIGSON Actor, writer, singer, comedian and novelist, Higson has experienced every form of popular media, and first made his mark on The Fast Show before turning to writing with James Bond novels, and now teen horror. His latest novel, The Sacrifice, is out in 2012.

JO WHILEY Jo Whiley is a veteran BBC Radio DJ and television presenter. She was the host of the long running weekday Jo Whiley Show on Radio 1 and has been a presenter on shows such as Top of the Pops, Glastonbury, and the Mercury Awards.

LUCY KELLAWAY Lucy Kellaway is a columnist on the Financial Times, and has worked there for more than a quarter of a century. She has written two novels, is an agony aunt, a broadcaster and is a non-executive director of Admiral. She has four children, two of whom are compulsive gamers.

DAVE GIBBONS

EKOW ESHUN

A celebrated comic artist and writer, Gibbons’ career has lasted more than 35 years and includes collaborations with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Alan Moore, Stan Lee, Frank Miller and more. He is best known for collaborating with Alan Moore on the 12-issue limited series Watchmen, now one of the best-selling graphic novels of all time, and the only one to feature on Time’s “Top 100 Novels” list.

Writer, journalist and broadcaster, Ekow Eshun was Artistic Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts from 2005 to November 2010. Eshun is a contributor to BBC’2 Friday night arts programme Newsnight Review and currently Editor-in-Chief of Tank magazine. A critic on Saturday Review on BBC Radio 4, he also occasionally appears on The Review Show on BBC Two.

LORD DAVID PUTTNAM (chair) Leading this year’s jury is film producer Lord David Puttnam. Awarded the Best Picture Oscar in 1981 for his work on Chariots of Fire, a year later he received the BAFTA Michael Balcon Award for his outstanding contribution to the British film industry. Lord Puttnam currently sits on the Labour bench in the House of Lords and is responsible for the promotion and creation of numerous academic institutions, boards, councils and awards.

SAMIRA AHMED Samira Ahmed is an award winning journalist and BBC broadcaster with a special interest in comics, Westerns and Science Fiction. Previously a news anchor on Channel 4 News, she present Night Waves on Radio 3, news programmes on Radio 4 and The Proms on BBC4.

LOUISE BREALEY Best known as ‘Molly’ in BBC TV’s acclaimed drama Sherlock, Louise began her career training at the Lee Strasberg institute in New York. She is also a widely published journalist and author, having contributed to titles as varied as SKY, Premiere, Wallpaper, The Face and I-D, as well as being Deputy Editor of Wonderland magazine. Louise is currently producing and co-writing children’s comedy drama, The Charles Dickens Show.

WAYNE HEMINGWAY Internationally acclaimed UK designer Hemingway began his creative design career in fashion, launching the iconic Red or Dead in 1983. A staunch advocate that Britain is the most creative country in the world, the now MBE turned his hand to urban, graphic and product design with HemingwayDesign, creating a range of affordable, social housing projects and winning a raft of awards along the way.

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The Nominations Academy comments

PROTEUS With Proteus, Twisted Tree have created something which shouldn’t work – a game without any challenges. All you do is wander through the world they’ve created, listening to music. Think of it as being a bit like Skyrim, only without the annoying combat and conversations! Although its graphics are distinctly low-fi – they remind me of games before Doom – the team have pored over each landscape, carefully tweaking colour palettes for each season and time of day. The result is eerily beautiful.

SUPER MARIO 3D LAND How to achieve reinvention without creating alienation: this is the repetitive dilemma for Nintendo when it comes to plotting the ongoing career of a medium’s mascot. In Super Mario 3D Land, the challenge was particularly tall, as the game was tasked with selling the 3D capabilities of the Kyoto-based company’s latest handheld without compromising the foundational design traits that define Mario. Super Mario 3D land exhibits the same purity of playfulness enjoyed by Nintendo EAD’s other recent representations of the plumber on Wii. But where Super Mario Sunshine and its sequel emphasised easygoing fun and exploration via a series of idea kernels, each one a different planet stage in a universe of playfulness, 3D Land has a sharper focus and keener drive. Its levels are taut, narrow affairs, the ideas strung together in such a way as to drive you forwards in a way more reminiscent of Mario’s formative NES days than his more recent outings. Fresh invention is then layered on this orthodox foundation with some of the smartest and most meaningful use of stereoscopic 3D yet seen, complementing the more traditional design in such a way that adds true depth, not mere distraction. In this way what appears to be a conservative game displays a quiet revolution at its heart.

CATHERINE Catherine is weird. Now, that’s not unusual among games, particularly Japanese ones, but Catherine’s weirdness is of a type I’ve never seen before. The game is split in half:

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you spend your time either in the day-today life of Vince, a late twentysomething struggling to commit to his girlfriend Katherine, or in Vince’s nightmares, as he battles to escape all kinds of Freudian expressions of his subconscious terror, possibly linked to his fling with the mysterious Catherine. The gameplay can be frustrating: while the nightmare puzzle blocks are intuitive and fun, the daytime chatting, and the endless cut scenes between you and Catherine/ Katherine, can grate. But it’s worth suffering through the dry sections, because the overall experience is so rewarding. This game makes breakthroughs with the distinctive art style, the filmic framing device, the grown-up subject matter, and the revealing questions you’re asked about yourself (the game shows you how your answers compare with others, if you have an online account).

MASS EFFECT 3

It might seem strange to pick a sequel in a prize that’s all about breaking new ground, but ME3 is a fascinating game – both for what’s in it, and for the reaction around it. It’s the culmination of an incredibly successful series, which successfully combined combat and chatting without doing either a disservice. Its voice actors (particularly Jennifer Hale, who voices the female version of Commander Shepard) are exceptional. Its dialogue trees manage to make videogame exposition bearable. Its storyline is epic, leading the New Yorker to call BioWare the “HBO of game studios”. But – and it’s a big and interesting but – does Mass Effect show the limitations of videogames as an artform, even as it pushes the limits of what’s possible technically and creatively? After the game was released, there was a fan backlash about the ending, and BioWare announced they would change it. You can’t imagine a film director or TV showrunner doing that, and you can’t imagine those medium’s fans asking for it. If you give gamers a little interactivity, will they ever be satisfied with the limits you impose?

Images left, from top: Proteus, Super Mario 3D Land, Catherine, Mass Effect 3


JOURNEY The hallmark of several of the games on this list is subtlety. We all know that videogames can be big and noisy and CGI-ed up to the perfectly rendered eyeballs. But an increasing number of developers are asking themselves if realism should be the ultimate aspiration for their creation – and games like Journey are showing that a pared down experience can be just as powerful. You play a cloaked traveller, starting in a desert. There is no tutorial, no hand-holding; you are expected to start walking towards the horizon. What follows is around two hours of elegant, simple play. The game’s masterstroke, however, is the “ambient multiplayer”. Occasionally, you’ll glimpse another figure in the distance, and you can choose whether or not to interact with them. It adds emotional weight to what could be a small, self-contained experience.

FEZ There’s always something impressive about games which turn the formal limitations of the medium into a central feature of the gameplay. (Just say “would you kindly” to any BioShock fan for a long lecture on this.) Fez’s use of space makes perfect sense within the context of its story – about a creature called Gomez who lives in a 2D world, until a magic hat (OK, a fez) allows him to see in 3D. The game’s long development time (it was first announced in 2007) led many to assume it wouldn’t be any good when it finally emerged, much like Duke Nukem. But Fez proved them wrong, winning perfect scores from several reviewers, and a scorching 89 per cent on Metacritic. What did they love?

Aside from the fact that everything just worked – which is as rare in a game as it is in a film – most reviewers namechecked the stripped-back gameplay and retro visuals. As with Proteus, there are no baddies, and no health bar; the only source of frustration is your own inability to solve the puzzles.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN JOUST Johann Sebastian Joust is an experimental game from Danish developers Die Gute Fabrik. Two to seven people hold PlayStation move controllers – which look like a microphone with a glowing orb on top. When the music (Bach, naturally) starts at a slow tempo, they can only move the controller slowly before it turns red and they’re “out”. When the music speeds up, so does the game. What this creates is a joust – protecting your own controller, trying to jostle other people’s. I was lucky enough to play Joust at a festival and it must have been the first time in two decades I’ve felt like I was back in the playground. Because the game hasn’t been released commercially, it encourages tinkering; a writer from Verge magazine played it inside his house, and outside at night. With no screen, and minimal rules, some won’t recognise Johann Sebastian Joust as a computer game. But it is – and one which is a far more exciting expression of the form than any amount of paint-by-numbers FPS sequels. Images right, from top: Journey, Fez, Johann Sebastian Joust

SO CLOSE... The longlist titles that didn’t make the shortlist Bastion (Supergiant Games)

Dear Esther (thechineseroom)

Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)

Contre Jour (Chilingo)

English Country Tune (Increpare Games)

Spelltower (Zach Gage)

Dark Souls (From Software)

Fifa 12 (EA Canada)

Waking Mars (Tiger Style Games)

DayZ (Dean “Rocket” Hall)

Fingle (Game Oven Studios)

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INTRODUCING THE VENUS PATROL GYM

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Q: Is the Venus Patrol Gym for me? A: Yes and no. It is for a series of hypothetical humans that have probably never existed. Until they show up, it’s for everybody.

Stop! Know about this! Brandon Boyer, of gorgeous indie gaming blog Venus Patrol, will be hosting the Venus Patrol Gym. A showcase of five stunning games that all use entirely insane controls that will shuffle your brain like a deck of fibrous cards.

Q: Will the Venus Patrol Gym make me healthier? A: No. If anything, the Venus Patrol Gym will bring you closer to death.

Some of these games had mad controls from the start. Some have been modified to become mad. Most were made from the start, and have been modified to make them even madder.

Q: What if I have no fun? A: Next question.

Do you think you are rough? Do you think you are TOUGH? Then step into the gym. Course, you could come along just to laugh at everybody grunting over these strange machines, but what kind of lowgrade individual would do that?

Q: What if I have too much fun? A: Exit the Venus Patrol Gym immediately, sit against a nearby wall and place your head between your knees. There, commence shouting “I’m sorry,” and “why”, to aid in conceptualising your lost innocence. Q: I am pregnant, drunk, medicated, epileptic, have a small child with me? A: What, all at the same time? Awesome! Q: No, I am one of those things. A: That’s not a problem for the Venus Patrol Gym.

MEGAGIRP, GIRP is a game of climbing a wall by climbing haphazardly across your keyboard with your fingers. It’s amazing, and legendarily hard. MegaGIRP is the same! It’s the same. It’s fine. You’ll be fine. The only difference is - and it’s a tiny one - is that the “keyboard” is a huge modified dancemat you’ll have to pick your way across with a spider’s own alien grace. But we believe in you! You can do this. ROBOCLOP Let’s be honest for just one, tiny moment. Haven’t we all dreamed of being a horse? RoboCLOP is an upgrade of profoundlyunwell-horse simulator CLOP, played not with four buttons, but played on all fours with four Move controllers taped to your wrists and thighs. By which we mean you have one controller taped to each of your appendages, not four Move controllers on each of your arms and legs. That would just be weird. GET ON TOP A re-imagining of ancient Finnish freeware Fight of the Sumo-Hoppers using a sort of Australian Kinect, Get On Top is Bennett Foddy’s extremely serious Sumo Wrestling sim that sees each player positioned on a real-life trampoline. A Move controller tracks

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your motion, with every bounce corresponding to a small kick of your wrestler’s feet, with the end game of pinning the other guy to the ground. How does it work? DOES IT WORK AT ALL? Come find out. POLE RIDERS “What if pole vaulters had fights?” That is the very important question asked by Pole Riders, a game of trying to nudge a ball into your opponent’s goal with a 15 foot pole. But that’s not all! Pole Riders also acts as an exploration of what a pain it is to do anything with a 15 foot pole, whether you’re performing actual pole vaults to just walking forward. Protip: Point the stick backwards and drag it behind you, like a child. JOHANN SEBASTIAN JOUST Inarguably a future Olympic sport, Joust is a game for any number of players, each of whom is given a move controller. It doesn’t need a screen. It doesn’t even need any light. The only rules? Move your controller too fast and you’re out, and the last person standing wins. Now, don’t worry if you’re imagining this game encourages terrible physical violence, or cheap tricks like hiding your controller in your coat and pretending you’re not playing. Because it does. It does. And it’s beautiful.

Q: Will there be snacks? A: You will be the snack, and the games will be the teeth. Q: Will there be snacks? A: Where we’re going, you won’t need snacks. Q: Will there be snacks? A: There will be a sandwich of innovative control systems on camaraderie bread. Q: Should I bring snacks? A: No. Q: Who is this Brandon guy? I don’t trust him. A: Let’s put it this way. You know that feeling when you’ve finally got your hands on a game you’ve been looking forward to for a year, and by the main menu you’re practically quivering? You know how you’ve trusted your heart and soul to that game? That’s how much you should trust Brandon Boyer. He’s not so much an indie game journalist as a straight Tetris block plugged deep into the indie scene. He is the indie scene. Did we mention he was chairman of the independent games festival? That’s a thing. Q: That’s pretty rad! A: It is, yeah!


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D R O C E R From 12pm 27 October 2012 Old Market Square Nottingham GameCity7 25


Interactive Technologies And

Other Highlights:

Games Director David Brown

Interactive workshops using technology to make music

offers some insight into games

Demonstration of Brain-Computer Interfaces

as rehabilitative devices

I

TAG brings together academics and practitioners working with interactive technologies to explore and innovate within the areas of Education, Health and Disability. We have a particular focus on the use of gaming hardware and software to implement accessible solutions in third generation systems, interaction design using new input/ output devices such as finding new clinical applications for Kinect, and the increasing impact of ubiquitous computing on our everyday well-being. The conference provides an excellent opportunity to showcase practice and to mainstream research ideas and outcomes. It introduces a wider audience to key findings and products from research and illustrates how practice feeds back into and informs research. The conference creates a forum for two-way communication between the academic and practitioner communities and particularly welcomes user led presentations and workshops. This year migrants and refugees from projects in the West Midlands will talk about their work with Nottingham Trent University and Greenhat Interactive to develop games to tackle discrimination in the workplace. The process of designing games with people with disabilities and making these processes fun and inclusive is also a common thread in several presentations. There is a strong theme this year about how the conference engages with research with people with intellectual disabilities and their use of games: to develop skills that can promote their employment on mobile platforms, and how games can be used to teach mathematical skills.

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Key note addresses from prominent international speakers including Monica Whitty, Pam Kato and Mark Griffiths An exhibition open to the public demonstrating applications of games for health and education and assistive technologies Meet researchers and user communities who can help pull your projects together, make new connections and think up new ideas Find out how to access masses of free and open source games and learning resources

Clinical applications of games and games technologies have always been a major theme of ITAG and this year is no different. Researchers will talk about their work using Kinect and the Wiimote with stroke patients to play games designed specifically to make their rehabilitation fun but also effective, and using haptic feedback systems in games as part of the rehabilitation process. Real-Time Biometric Data Monitoring using player’s heart rate to drive games is also featured at ITAG 12. Using games technologies and mobile devices to help blind people navigate and learn new routes is also a highlight this year. These systems have been shown to develop really accurate models of spaces blind people have yet to visit – and the potential of these systems is incredibly promising and should

be obvious to all. The conference doesn’t shy aware from more controversial issues, posing challenging questions such as: asking whether all online play is psychologically healthy? Asking whether female game players are different from their counterparts? Whether boys with intellectual disabilities use games to pursue hyper masculine ideals in games? And exploring the implications for education, therapeutic intervention, and addiction of online game playing. The programme includes presentations of papers, workshops, and an exhibition space for demonstrations and posters. This event is organised by Nottingham Trent University as part of GameCity7. itag.gamecity.org


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DON’T DREAM IT. DO IT.

If you want industry training, you have to train in the industry

STILL ENROLLING 30 GameCity7


Powered by

Games aren’t just for playing. They’re for learning. And for teaching. And for inspiring. GameCity7 celebrates the very best of what Nottingham Trent University can do. We’re researching interactive systems for social inclusion, education and healthcare. Our students are learning creative programming for video games and are studying the social impact of technology.

Opening our doors for the festival Make sure you check out the University’s latest research projects at the Interactive Technologies and Games (ITAG) Exhibition between 4.00 pm – 6.30 pm on Tuesday 23 October (the Tuesday of the festival) in the Newton building, Goldsmith Street.

Look out for NTU staff and students at the festival representing... Computer Games Systems Computer Science Creative Writing Cybernetics and Communications Digital Media Technology Games and Play (Technology and Culture) Media Multimedia Games Engineering Software Engineering We have many course options including professional awards and industry placement options relevant to the gaming industry – including art, design, computing, science, humanities, business and social sciences.

Check us out online or at an Open Day. Enjoy the festival.

www.ntu.ac.uk

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The events schedule is constantly being updated. For the latest information on events and venues, please go to www.gamecity.org

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4. Spanky Van Dykes 17 Goldsmith Street, NG1 5JT 5. GameCity Old Market Square NG1 2DT 6. Antenna Beck Street

NG1 1EQ

7. Nottingham Trent University Goldsmith Street NG1 4BU 8. Page 45 9 Market Street NG1 6HY

GameCity7 Magazine  

32 pages of GameCity goodness! The GameCity magazine is your companion to the week long festivities