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GAME PLAY: A family-friendly festival of games and play

Hi All,

I’m organising a small festival in Bedford, UK (near to London)
It’s a mix of classic board games, computer games, RPGs and more immersive games that blend theatre and gaming. It’s aimed at a wide audience, but we attract families with young people aged 7-11 who like to engage with a low-cost, low-risk, comfortable family experience at a time when most people don’t want to go out so much.
We’re very keen to grow this audience base to tap in to an older age group (12-16), making games and experiences for young people who are becoming cultural consumers in their own right. I’m also very keen to see if we can use this opportunity to upskill these young makers.

We’ve a small pot of funding for the festival for the next 2 years, running in mid-January. But we’re also looking at future opportunities for summertime, outdoor work as well.
This January we have a few things planned already, but i’ve been reconsidering how we might run certain parts of the festival. After this week i think it may be a really interesting idea to pass over a whole day of the festival to encouraging attendees to make their own games.
So i’m thinking that we could make a whole day Game Jam on the Saturday or Sunday daytime, and invite a large number of game designers from lots of different disciplines to come in and work with each other and anyone who turns up to create a whole set of new games.
As much of the rest of the planned festival is quite passive it would be great to have a more participatory element embedded.

If there are any Game Designers who are around London/SE England, or can find their way to Bedford for the weekend we can book some Airbnbs in the town, and probably cover some travel costs (depending on how much/how far/how many people)

Its still a very small project at the moment, but it’s deeply embedded into a small community and running through a well established community/professional arts venue. So our focus is very much on creating something unique and special for our local audience.
We really want to achieve that by building relationships with great artists and designers and encouraging them to come and make work with and for our community.

If any of that sounds interesting to you, or if you want more information write below, or send me a DM.


1 Like

Hi Alex, I am really interested in this as a place to trial and test an interactive projection game I have in mind. I already have the shape of the game scoped out, and I have a projector and it’s a very quick turnaround, so I think it’s safer if I stick to geometric images which can be produced directly in the projector program, so it’s best I work on those myself BUT, I want it to be interactive using sound/voice input, and I want it to have a sound track (bird sounds, calls and flight). If there are any sound artists out there interested in something like this I would love to collaborate. cheers, Bronwin

p.s. I forgot to say that this is a bird themed interactive projection game. Given the short turnaround the images will be quite geometric, accompanied by bird call soundscapes for 10 different birds. Ideally I would like an audio input (using a microphone) with a bird call recognition function.

p.s. Also, although I am not sure whether children could easily make aspects of the projection gamer (or, if I want them messing with my projector…) I could potentially facilitate related activities on the day.