GameCity launches The GameCity Prize

Nottingham 15/09/11 - GameCity, the world’s best loved videogames festival, today unveiled its new project, The GameCity Prize. Created to discuss, explore and celebrate the very best in interactive entertainment, the GameCity Prize seeks to drive understanding and appreciation of videogames onto the mainstream cultural agenda. The winner will be unveiled at an exclusive award ceremony on Saturday 29th October. All press seating requests should go through GameCity’s PR and Marketing Coordinator, Chris White ( For more details, go to

GameCity are launching a prize of international significance. One that’s contemporary, esteemed and provocative - providing a mainstream entry point into videogame culture, and creating an annual benchmark for one of the most significant cultural forms of our age.

Juried by an esteemed group of non-games specialists, each acclaimed within their own fields, the GameCity Prize is a single award which forms the climax of the annual GameCity festival, now in its sixth year.

The GameCity prize considers all videogames released in a twelve month period, disregarding budget or genre.

GameCity Director Iain Simons said, “I'm bored of the debate of whether games are ‘art' or not - the question isn't ‘if' they're interesting, but ‘how' and ‘why'. The GameCity Prize is about videogames gaining cultural confidence and expressing their value in something other than financial terms. If games are worth almost £3 billion a year in the UK - then surely they're worth thinking about too.”

It’s the Turner / Booker / Mercury Prize of the videogame world that sparks conversations about which title should have won, and ignites a broader, ongoing conversation about the role that gaming plays in 21st century culture. The GameCity Prize claims a space in the videogame cultural calendar that remains currently vacant, building a new and provocative cultural and media event.

Currently, there is no award like it.

Juror Frances Barber said, “I’m not a huge video game player – yet – but as an artist I’m very interested in all forms of cultural expression. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity in the GameCity Prize to discover what the World of videogames might hold for me, what kind of worlds, characters and emotions they can create. I can’t wait to start playing.”

2011 Jury (Full biographies and headshots available on request)

Jude Kelly OBE (Chair)

Artistic director of Southbank Centre, Britain’s largest cultural institution, Kelly leads the jury with a background in theatre, and as a longtime proponent of the power and importance of creative outlets in today’s society.

Charlie Higson

Actor, writer, singer, comedian and novelist, Higson has experienced every form of popular media, and first made his mark on The Fast Show before turning to writing with James Bond novels, and now teen horror. His latest novel, The Fear, is due to be released soon.

Tom Watson MP

Labour MP for West Bromwich East, Watson created Gamer’s Voice to champion the industry in the annals of parliament at a time when games were under intense media scrutiny. A long time supporter on a wide range of other technology based issues, and an accomplished Guitar Hero player.

Nitin Sawhney

Producer, composer, musician, Sawhney has won countless accolades, including MOBO and Ivor Novello awards, for his work combining jazz and electronica with Asian influences to great effect. He also created the music for Heavenly Sword, and more recently, Namco Bandai’s Enslaved.

James Crabtree

Harvard University graduate, former Senior Editor at Prospect, a Policy Advisor at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and now Comment Editor at The Financial Times.

Ed Hall

As much a pioneer as a presenter, Hall was at ground zero for some of the biggest changes in popular entertainment today, launching reality TV with Temptation Island and Celebrity Soccer Six. Also n accomplished screen play writer, you’ve probably seen him on former hits including X-Fire, Robot Wars’ Olympic spin-off, Techno Games, To Buy or Not To Buy and most recently as narrator on E4’s Meet the Parents.

Frances Barber

Most recently seen playing Madame Kovarian in Doctor Who, Barber is one of Britain’s most distinguished actors. She has appeared in a huge range of film, theatre and television work, including Midsomer Murders, Casualty, Hustle, IT Crowd, My Family and many more.

You Me At Six

A musical tour de force, the contemporary rock band debuted with Take Off Your Colours and most recently Hold Me Down, their 2010 Top 5 Hit album. Winners of Best British Band at the Kerrang! Awards this year, the group are hoping their next album, Sinners Never Sleep, due in stores soon, can build on that success.

Dave Rowntree

David Rowntree is probably best known as the drummer in the band Blur, who formed in Colchester in 1989, and went on to sell over 10 million records. Rowntree wasted his youth writing and playing games for various 80’s microcomputers, but is currently in the final year of his training to qualify as a solicitor. David spends his spare time campaigning for the Labour Party, and playing World of Warcraft.

The Finalists

Hand picked by an international academy of game experts throughout the industry, the following seven titles, all released this year across a series of formats, represent the accomplishments and contribution of videogames to popular culture.



Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

Pokémon Black

Portal 2

Child of Eden


All press seating requests should go through GameCity’s PR and Marketing Coordinator, Chris White ( For more details, go to



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*GameCityNights is a series of after-dark monthly events that brings together developers, students and players in a celebration and exploration of videogame culture - with prizes. Every month a brilliant headline speaker will be making their way to Nottingham to share their thoughts, passions and give a unique insight into their work.

GameCity is what a videogame festival should be. 

The Centre for Contemporary Play is a research centre based at Nottingham Trent University which pioneers innovative thinking through new partnerships. Since 2008 it has worked with a variety of leading organisations from the commercial and public sector to deliver major research and inclusion projects. These include the ITAG conference, the GameCity videogame festival and the National Videogame Archive - a unique collaboration with the National Media Museum.

Driven by leading thinking at NTU, the Centre for Contemporary Play continues to create radical and innovative projects in the academic and public engagement space.

Gamecity’s aim is to bring together developers and the public to explore and celebrate videogames and videogames culture, with a particular focus on students. We attract the best speakers in the world, offer up-and-coming artists and developers a platform for their games and create totally unique events.

Some of GameCity’s greatest hits include a world-record breaking zombie gathering, Keita Takahashi designing a children’s playground and Masaya Matsuura, Lorne Lanning, Alexey Pajitnov and Media Molecule having headlined.

We’ve worked alongside some of the most prominent names in gaming, including; Warner Bros, TTGames, Crytek, Activision, Namco Bandai, SCEE, Xbox, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Freestyle Games, David Braben, Media Molecule, Splash Damage, Harmonix, Rare, Denki, Monumental Games, Midway, Zoe Mode, ThatGameCompany, Nana-on-Sha and lots more.

Going way beyond just playing games, GameCity offers other new ways for people to interact with videogame culture. Art exhibitions, director commentaries, playground building, live recreations of videogames, gigs, gong-shows, three World Records, arcade trails, club nights – nothing is off limits for this most radical of videogame festivals.

Don’t just take our word for it, see what others have said after working with us,

GameCity looks poised to become our industry’s ?rst Sundance. A truly unique approach for hosting a game festival that seems long overdue.

Lorne Lanning, Oddworld Inhabitants

GameCity is unique. Any games festival that can reunite industry legends, lead to a Japanese game developer designing a playground, and evoke religious sentiments in a shopping centre is doing something very right for sure.

Edge Magazine

The year’s most inventively programmed new arts festival

The Times  

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