GameCity began as a small festival in Nottingham, UK, around ten years ago, bringing a focus to indie games and allowing countless developers to come and showcase their work.
Now, nearly ten years after they began work on the festival, the company is set to open the National Videogame Arcade on March 28th, according to their Twitter.
Hello everyone! We’re opening the National Videogame Arcade on March 28th. Hope you can come! http://t.co/rLX3Bg6PD2
— gamecity (@gamecity) February 19, 2015
The establishment is set to be the first permanent cultural centre for video games in the world. According to their website, it will be “a place where everyone can discover video games, play video games and make video games.” They continue on to say “we’re going to be creating new exhibitions, new events and new ways for people to play together.”
I for one don’t doubt this for a second. Having attended last years GameCity festival, I know that the opportunities given to developers are unlike any other, with the general public being allowed to come in and try out every possible thing they could, from the headlining Lumino City, to an underwater augmented reality game which utilized an underwater tablet, to a game which had you run around the room pressing buttons which corresponded to your matching card. With the addition of events such as One Life Left, a karaoke night which reimagines popular songs with video game-related lyrics – Don’t Stop Believing turns to Games Give Us Feelings, for example – and a text-based adventure night, which had people such as Ian Livingstone, Zoe Quinn and Chris Avellone interacting with people to create a correspondence which was reminiscent of the Fighting Fantasy books of old. It makes for an exceptionally fun few days, and feels much more homey than many other gaming festivals.
And don’t worry, even if you’re not a developer, there’ll still be plenty of things for you to get involved in!
GameCity nights is an event which has been running since 2010 on the last Thursday of every month. Beginning at Antenna – a bar around the corner which now houses twice-annual #EVE_NT – the night involves tournaments, prizes, music and speakers who have ranged from Mike Bithell, Keita Takahasi and Charles Cecil since their beginning. Also available are the LateNight@NVA which provides a different atmosphere for the arcade to be viewed in and Freeplay! evenings, which invites people to come in and make use of the library of games.
As well as this, there’ll be top-floor workshops and libraries for special events and educational visits, a fully licensed bar and lounge, and three floors worth of playable exhibitions, kicking off with The History of Videogames in 100 Objects, an interactive exhibition which “invites you to play, listen, touch (maybe even smell!) your way through a history of play”, the Hall of Inputs, which explores alternative ways to control video games and the first special exhibition entitled Jump!
Jump! is said to “explore the ups and downs of video games – how game makers combine art and science to create forms of locomotion or movement in which an organism or non-living mechanical system propels itself through the air. Or jumping, as we call it”, looking at games from Assassin’s Creed to Doodle Jump, and answering many questions which surround the psychology and technology of jumping in video games.
It’s an exciting time for video games and their culture. “Videogames are pioneering new forms of creative expression and engagement with technology,” NVA Co-Director Jonathan Smith told UKIE. “A new generation is growing up with games that shape their fundamental conceptions of social interaction, creativity and learning. At this incredibly exciting time, The National Videogame Arcade invites everyone to share in the discovery of new ways for people to play together.”
Iain Simons, Co-Director of the NVA, also said: “Since announcing the opening of The National Videogame Arcade in October last year we’ve been overwhelmed by the support we have received locally, nationally and internationally. We simply can’t wait to open our doors at the end of March.”