Games design luminaries John and Brenda Romero, a celebration of some of the greatest videogames developed in Yorkshire, and the audiovisual extravaganza DJ Yoda Goes to the Arcades: A History of Gaming are among the highlights of the National Media Museum’s first Yorkshire Games Festival (9-13 November 2016), which announced its full line-up today.
John and Brenda Romero each have more than three decades of experience in the games industry, during which they’ve received multiple awards and accolades for their work.
John, co-creator of legendary titles Doom, Wolfenstein 3D and Quake, among many others, is recognised as a pioneer of the first-person shooter (FPS) genre. He was named Games.com’s ‘Most Influential Person in Facebook and Social Games’ in 2011, and in 2015 The Next Web inducted him into its ‘Tech Hall of Fame’. He is currently working on new game Blackroom with Doom co-designer Adrian Carmack.
Brenda, who became lead designer for the seminal Wizardry and Jagged Alliance role-playing series, has designed, developed and written books about videogames since 1981. She is also acclaimed for non-digital titles which explore social and philosophical issues in a traditional table-top game format. In 2013, she was named one of the top 10 game developers by Gamasutra.com, and in the same year Develop magazine listed her among the 25 people who ‘changed games’.
On Friday, 11 November, John will be taking part in an on-stage interview with Edge Magazine to discuss his career to date, as well as delivering a keynote talk on his experience in producing first-person shooters. Brenda will deliver her keynote session on Thursday, 10 November on the subject of ‘a lifetime in games’.
The Festival, which is proud to be working with Bradford College as its Principal Sponsor and the University of Bradford as its Education Partner, is also taking a closer look at games developed in its home county, including a 21st anniversary celebration of Worms, created by Wakefield-based Team17. The Worms series has sold millions of units worldwide on nearly every format imaginable, and Team17’s Creative Director Kevin Carthew will be sharing their story (11 November). Other Yorkshire-based developers include Sheffield’s Sumo Digital, as Creative Director Sean Millard, and Sebastiaan Liese, designer of their brand new title Snake Pass, explore the journey of a game – from inspiration to production (11 November); and Charles Cecil, creator of the Broken Sword series who co-founded Revolution Software in York, talks about his wealth of experience in developing adventure games (9 November).
Creative Assembly, developers of Medieval: Viking Invasion and Total War: Warhammer, are also in attendance, with Brand Director Rob Bartholomew sharing his expertise in promoting new games at an event specifically aimed at start-ups and small games developers on limited budgets (9 November).
DJ Yoda Goes to the Arcades: A History of Gaming (11 November) is an audiovisual culture clash charting the best loved and most fondly remembered games from the early 80s right through to 2016. The evening features game music, original soundtracks, gameplay footage and old TV ads, as well as new, exclusive content in collaboration with gaming events specialists GamerDisco.
A Family Weekend of gaming activity is also taking place with events and special guests for all ages (12-13 November). Presenters Hannah, Caff and HeyChrissa from the internet super channel The Yogscast (20 million subscribers) will be hosting a live session answering questions, playing games and meeting fans. A dedicated Nintendo zone provides visitors with the opportunity to celebrate the ‘Year of Pokémon’ by meeting Pikachu ahead of the launch of the eagerly anticipated Pokémon Sun & Pokémon Moon games for Nintendo 3DS. Attendees will be able to play a variety of Pokémon games, try out the new Nintendo Classic Mini: NES console, and even win Nintendo themed prizes in Super Smash Bros. tournaments. Gamers are also encouraged to bring their Nintendo 3DS console with them to collect StreetPass Tags from other Nintendo fans at the festival!
The Family Weekend also includes Minecraft events, a look at some of the more weird and wonderful titles from the gaming universe, and a chance to play a raft of titles for free in the Yorkshire Games Showcase, as the Museum becomes home to more than 20 gaming stations, in addition to those already permanently available in its Games Lounge.
Festival Director, Kathryn Penny, said: “We think this is an amazing line-up for our first ever Yorkshire Games Festival. From guests who have produced titles that have become part of the bedrock of gaming, to up-and-coming developers discussing the latest trends. We also have a family weekend dedicated to gamers of all ages – meet your favourite internet broadcasters and play the very best of Yorkshire’s gaming heritage.”
The Yorkshire Games Festival, created and hosted by the National Media Museum, Bradford, aims to give students and aspiring professionals unrivalled insight from some of the industry’s highest profile names, as well as celebrating the nation’s and region’s strength in game development and design. It is presented in partnership with games business network Game Republic, with support from the Yorkshire Screen Hub and City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
Previously announced guests include award-winning games scriptwriter and story designer Rhianna Pratchett; Gary Napper, Game Director at UK developer Supermassive Games; plus industry legend Warren Spector (Deus Ex, System Shock), who joins the Festival from the USA via a live video link.
And as well as individual talks and sessions, guests will take part in panel discussions hosted by The Guardian’s games writers Keith Stuart and Jordan Erica Webber.
All passes and tickets are on sale from Wednesday 14 September.