Yorkshire Games Festival is traditionally a five-day event of all things gaming, wrapping up with a family-focused museum takeover that we call our Let’s Play! weekend. It’s our aim to provide opportunities for families to play together and connect through gaming. It also helps promote positivity in game culture and provides information for parents and caregivers to navigate the world of gaming.
But above all of that, it’s about playing—because that’s what games are for!
We are very much missing the excitable messiness that our Let’s Play! family weekends bring, as well as the idea of getting stuck in, experiencing something new and playing around with family and friends.
Here are some of our favourite moments from past Let’s Play! weekends, with some tips and resources on how to spark that creative energy at home.
The Yogscast, Yorkshire Games Festival 2016
With millions of subscribers and billions of views across their channels, YouTube sensations The Yogscast visited the festival to give our festivalgoers the chance to get involved with live gameplay on stage, complete with their energetic and witty commentary.
WiFi Wars, Yorkshire Games Festival 2017
The museum played host to WiFi Wars—the live comedy game show where everyone got to play along! Audience members logged in with their smartphone or tablet and competed in a range of challenges to win prizes. Hosted by comedian, TV presenter and videogame pundit Steve McNeil, along with his trusty sidekick Rob Sedgebeer, it got competitive quickly in our Pictureville cinema!
LARPing, Yorkshire Games Festival 2017
We’re not all about digital gameplay at the festival, and in 2017 we introduced our first live action role play game: The Displaced. Suitable for all ages, the LARP involved players being given a role which required them to venture around Bradford town centre and interact with characters they met on the way to solve challenges and clues. With the museum recently having played host to Tim Peake’s Soyuz capsule, it was only fitting we had a sci-fi theme!
The Incredible Playable Show, Yorkshire Games Festival 2019
Created by game developer Alistair Aitcheson, The Incredible Playable Show was an interactive videogame comedy show which put the audience at the heart of the action. Visitors became human buttons, took on the Power Rangers, and zapped each other with barcode scanners. We had never seen our Cubby Broccoli cinema so energised!
Wobble Garden, part of Videogames, But…, Yorkshire Games Festival 2019
Our Videogames, But… showcase helped pushed the boundaries of game-making and showed our visitors how diverse and exciting games can really be. Our favourite game was Wobble Garden by Robin Baumgarten, which was included in the showcase in 2019. The game was a hand-crafted arrangement of sensing springs combined with reactive lighting. Players wobbled springs to interact with the installation and played games.
Exploring Analogue with Button Mash, Yorkshire Games Festival 2020
Festival friends and local Bradford gaming fanatics Button Mash helped our visitors indulge in the wonderful world of analogue gaming. With a mountain of tabletop games, ranging from board games to card games, our visitors could steal a bit of quiet time in our Kodak Gallery and get back to basics with gaming.
Let’s Play… at home!
Game-making can be explored wherever you are. While we’re all staying safe at home, why not check out our own Science Museum Group learning resources to explore gaming, maths and coding.
This year, our Northern Games Showcase has moved online too! Check out our all-digital official selection and play some fantastic games made by local developers.
Want to take your game-making skills one step further? You might want to consider submitting your game in the BAFTA Young Game Designers competition. You can find more information about the competition, as well as masterclass videos and other resources, on our BAFTA Young Game Designers page.
Our Science Museum Group Academy training courses are perfect for parents and teachers who want some fresh ideas and approaches for learning and engagement.
We’ve also worked together to help create 2,000 packs of six learning resources which will be distributed around the Bradford district to families without access to stable internet or technology during the pandemic. The printed activity packs are designed as a range of activities to supplement schools’ home learning and designed primarily for fun in order to promote STEM learning.
But making and playing games can be as simple as dusting off that family board game, learning chess with the grandparents or even creating your own game to play with whatever you can find in your house (think foil, toilet roll and plasticine!).
Keep exploring until we can welcome you back to play again.