This year’s festival took place between 8–12 November, continuing our mission to bring aspiring games creators closer to the industry and give families a platform to play together.
There were lots of exciting new additions to the programme. We kicked off the festival with our first Schools’ Day, giving local school groups the chance to experience workshops, talks and activities focusing on key elements of videogames such as coding and design. The museum played host to Key Stage 2 students, while Bradford College, the festival’s Headline Sponsor, catered for Key Stage 3 students.
On Thursday and Friday, we welcomed students and gaming enthusiasts to Pictureville Cinema, where they experienced a range of talks and masterclasses from some of the industry’s leading professionals. Our keynote speaker was Iki Ikram. The award-winning visual effects specialist and former Naughty Dog artist took centre stage to discuss his career, including his experience of working on successful franchises Uncharted and The Last of Us. Having grown up in Bradford, and crediting his success to studying Graphic Design at Bradford College, Iki provided the audience with an inspiring story and was the perfect keynote for this year’s festival.
Other amazing highlights included Arthur Parsons (TT Games) talking about creating Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2; Dominic Matthews (Ninja Theory) discussing Hellblade: Sensua’s Sacrifice and its authentic portrayal of mental health; David Wise’s live music demonstration to accompany his talk on composing for videogames such as Snake Pass; and an appearance by BAFTA-winning company Ghost Town Games, who revealed how they developed the smash hit Overcooked.
Another new addition to the festival was our ‘Meet the Developers’ networking event, which gave delegates an invaluable opportunity to meet our special guests to discuss career advice, top tips… and, of course, favourite games!
After a successful few days, the museum was flooded by families, games fans and developers for the Let’s Play! weekend. We opened up Gallery One to live gameplay, inviting Yorkshire developers and companies to showcase their in-development games in the second edition of the Yorkshire Games Showcase. Our Videogames, But… collection displayed unusual, wonderful and thought-provoking games to our visitors, while Installation Required led Makey Makey custom controller workshops, inspiring a brand new generation of games creators.
Two live shows wowed audiences, with Impact Gamers LiVE showcasing games made by young people on the big screen and WiFi Wars providing lots of laughs in an interactive comedy gameshow. Beyond the museum, The Displaced—our first live action role-playing game—led visitors across Bradford city centre in an other-worldly adventure to collect clues and solve the mystery of the Soyuz.
After another successful festival, it’s now on to plans for the next—we’ll see you in 2018!
Photographs by Roger Moody and Jody Hartley