Founding father of interactive entertainment to open videogame festival

The co-author of the Livingstone-Hope Report 2011, Next Gen, which prompted the government to address ICT in schools, will officially open the Games Britannia videogames education and careers festival in July.

Ian Livingstone OBE, creator of the Fighting Fantasy series of interactive adventure books, has also given the festival organisers the go-ahead to run a Fighting Fantasy themed workshop. The session, which Ian will help facilitate, will show children how interactive fiction can bring the art of story-telling to videogames.

Ian said: "Interactive fiction is becoming more prevalent in games as players look for deeper, more engaging story-telling and more scope for decision-making.

"The Games Britannia festival will give children a real look at how videogames involve writing skills and story-telling to create interactive fiction. And the Fighting Fantasy workshops will promote a passion for literature and encourage sometimes reluctant readers and writers to …read and write!"

The Fighting Fantasy series of workshops will showcase a new interactive fiction tool, created with writers and schools in mind and completely free of charge, by new creative start-up company inkle.

Created by a pair of former videogame developers, Jon Ingold and Joseph Humfrey, inklewriter requires no set-up, no programming and no drawing diagrams - and it enables young people to write and share interactive literature.

Co-creator Jon Ingold said: "Before founding inkle, Joe and I both worked in the video-game industry and we know first-hand the importance of events like Games Britannia, to get kids thinking about how games work and how they're made.

"It's a real treat for us to be involved, especially in collaboration with Ian and Fighting Fantasy. We can't wait to see what the students make with our inklewriter tool!"

Ian Livingstone will also launch a brand new Fighting Fantasy title at the festival, called Blood of the Zombies.

He said: "It's been 30 years since the first Fighting Fantasy title was published, so this new book celebrates the success of the series. Blood of the Zombies will hopefully give a new generation of readers a taste of the original form of interactive fiction."

The videogames education and careers festival will take place from 2 to 8 July at the MAGNA Science Adventure Centre, and will celebrate the strength of the UK industry and inspire the next generation of British videogame talent. The festival includes Games Britannia: REPLAYED, which opens the Games Britannia doors to the public for a weekend of games-based learning and entertainment.

Games Britannia, incorporating Games Britannia: REPLAYED, is organised by a partnership including Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Sheffield Hallam University, Brinsworth Comprehensive School Academy Trust, Replay Events and UK Interactive Entertainment, and is backed by industry companies including Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

To find out more about the festival, visit www.gamesbritannia.com/2012

Notes for editors:

Read the Next Gen report here: http://www.nesta.org.uk/areas_of_work/creative_economy/skills_review/assets/features/next_gen

Ian Livingstone is Life President of Eidos and one of the UK’s founding fathers of interactive entertainment.

In 1975 he co-founded Games Workshop and launched Dungeons & Dragons in Europe. In 1977 he published White Dwarf, the UK’s first interactive games magazine and was its editor for five years.

In 1982 he co-wrote The Warlock of Firetop Mountain with Steve Jackson, the first Fighting Fantasy interactive gamebook. The series sold in excess of 16 million copies in 25 languages. He wrote many of the international best-sellers including Deathtrap Dungeon. In 1984 he invested in Domark, one of the first UK computer games publishers, designing the company’s first game Eureka. He joined the board in 1992 and helped merge the company with Eidos Technologies. Following a full listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1995, he served as Executive Chairman of Eidos plc until 2002, and subsequently as Creative Director. At Eidos he helped to secure many of the company’s major franchises including Tomb Raider and Hitman.

He is a Non-Executive Director of SocialGO plc, Non-Executive Director of UKIE, Chair of Skillset’s Computer Games Skills Council, Vice Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee and an advisor to the British Council.

He was awarded an OBE, a BAFTA Special Award, a British Inspiration Award and an Honorary Doctorate of Technology by the University of Abertay, Dundee for his contribution to the UK computer and video games industry.

inkle was founded in November 2011, to produce quality interactive fiction for mobile platforms. Its first commercial interactive product is Frankenstein, being published in April on the App Store in association with Profile Books.

For more information contact info@inklestudios.com or visit the website, www.inklestudios.com.

Images show: Games Britannia’s Mark Hardisty speaking at the Games Britannia 2012 press launch, and children from South Yorkshire schools get their hands on Sheffield Hallam’s PlayStation®3 development kits.

For press information contact: Joe Field on 0114 225 2074 or email pressoffice@shu.ac.uk

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