9th October, 2007. Nottingham, UK. GameCity ( www.gamecity.org), the world's most exciting new games festival, today announces a series of events tackling the serious side of videogames.
The subject of violence in games is never far from the front pages– especially in the wake of the decision by the BBFC to refuse Manhunt 2 a certificate– for the second time. But just what should the standards be for the violence portrayed in games? Should they be tougher than for film or TV? How sophisticated is the BBFC's understanding of games and how they work? GameCity is delighted to welcome Jim Cliff, a longtime BBFC examiner to the festival to discuss these issues and more.
Censorship is always a sensitive issue, and as games get more ambitious in their subject matter, it's an issue they are facing more frequently. Last year, the decision of the SlamDance Guerrilla Game Festival to ban one of the nominees - Super Columbine RPG– sparked controversy across the gaming world. That decision provoked the maker of Super Columbine RPG, Danny Ledonne, to create a documentary addressing the issues his provocative game had raised. Are there some subjects games should never tackle? Are games always trivial, or can they shed new light on historical or social issues?
GameCity is exceptionally proud to present the world premiere first-cut of this documentary– 'Playing Columbine' - followed by an extraordinary chance to put your questions to director Danny Ledonne and Sam Roberts, the curator of the Slamdance Guerrilla Game festival, who took the difficult decision to disqualify Ledonne's game. The Q&A session, led by the Guardian newspaper's Keith Stuart, will be conducted via live videolink from Washington DC session following the screening of the documentary
Finally, GameCity offers a chance for those who aren't so familiar with the games industry to get their questions answered. The 'Who's Afraid Of Videogames' session puts an expert panel at your disposal, so you can finally put your mind to rest on any subject– are games addictive? Are they good for my kids? What do all the different ratings mean? The GameCity panel– developer Jonathan Smith, e-learning specialist Jenny Murray, addiction researcher Mark Griffiths and BBFC examiner Jim Cliff– has the answers.
Jim Cliff: The Man From The BBFC– 3pm, 26th October. Broadway Cinema and Media Centre
Playing Columbine– 5.30pm, 26th October. Broadway Cinema and Media Centre. Over 18s only.
Who's Afraid Of Videogames?– 10am, 27th October, View From The Top Gallery
Note for Editors
Ground-breaking games, premiere screenings, exclusive appearances - GameCity brings you what other festivals can't. And a little of what they won't. Building on the success of last year's inaugural festival (4 days, 25 venues, 3000+ attendees), this year's GameCity promises to continue shattering expectations of what a videogame festival could be.
GameCity 2007 happens all across Nottingham from the 24th - 28th October, 2007. For further details, and updates, please see www.gamecity.org
GameCity is a festival celebrating the culture and potential of videogames, bringing the people who play them into contact with the people who make them - and who want to make them. Taking place across an entire city, GameCity brings gaming to huge variety of venues - from cinemas and market squares, to restaurants, cafes and schools. It remains the only event in the world to bring developers, students and lovers of interesting culture together in Indian restaurants.
Strongly supported by the games industry - already involved in this year's festival are Frontier, Traveller's Tales, Free Radical Design, Rare, SCEE, Microsoft, Bizarre Creations and more– GameCity is also unique in the way it bridges the divide between gaming and the wider world. The festival is perhaps the most visible example yet of the public sector stepping up and explicitly supporting the development of the games industry. Iain Simons, festival director commented, "We're delighted with the support that the festival has gained from the City of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University - its lead partner. It feels like a real milestone on the journey to mainstream culture for interactive entertainment that an event like this can happen at all - and then be embraced by the public sector."
"It looks like our industry might have found its first Sundance. GameCity is a unique approach to a videogame festival that seems long overdue," Lorne Lanning.
"GameCity shows us how a videogame shindig should be run" - Edge.
"..promises to be the most inventively programmed new arts festival of the year.." - The Times.