Train2Game UK Games Industry Battles Corona

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working with some of the UK’s leading games companies to feature the government’s clear  ‘Stay At Home, Save Lives’ instruction in some of their most popular games to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
 
Getting through the crisis will require a collective national effort and every generation has a role to play, everyone’s actions right now can have a direct impact upon the lives of others. Young people spend more time playing video games than the rest of the population (UKIE), which is why in-game messaging represents a creative, targeted, and immediate way to help reinforce the government’s Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives message, to gamers.
 
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:
 
“It is absolutely vital that we all follow the simple government advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. I’m delighted to see the UK’s brilliant video games industry stepping up to strongly reinforce this message to gamers across the UK.”
 
Support from UK video games companies to date include:
 
Activision Blizzard King are inserting “Stay At Home” messaging in their network of mobile games, most notably Candy Crush Saga. The firm has also donated more than 230 “digital poster” advertising spaces in London, where they would normally advertise their own products, to be used for crucial public health messaging.
 
‘Stay At Home’ posters are already being featured in Codemasters’ DiRT Rally 2.0, played by millions of unique users since its launch in February 2019, and the company is now looking at ways to roll out more essential health messages in games across Europe and the U.S. in the coming weeks.
 
Rebellion will be including “Stay At Home” messaging on their games landing page launch sites (the landing page when you load up a game) for their games, with the capacity for these messages to link to relevant gov.uk pages where appropriate.  As well as developing games, Rebellion also publish comic books and have also offered advertising in these.
 
Humam Sakhnini, President of King said:
 
“Everyone at Activision Blizzard, and the King team I lead, are delighted that we’re able to play a small part and help with the delivery of vital public health information. Through our millions of players we’re able to assist Public Health England and the NHS spread their life saving message: stay at home, protect our NHS, and save lives”.
 
Jason Kingsley OBE, Co-founder and CEO of Rebellion:
 
 “We’re delighted to be working with the DCMS on this excellent initiative. We know how fundamentally beneficial video games, like Sniper Elite and Strange Brigade, and comics, like 2000 AD, have been and will continue to be for many of us during this extraordinary time. It makes total sense for us to help promote important public health messaging while keeping those fans entertained in the safety of their homes.”
 
Toby Evan-Jones, VP Business Development at Codemasters:
“At Codemasters we came to realise that technology within our games, which enables the remote updating of banners within the virtual environment, could be repurposed to assist with the Coronavirus communication effort. This week, through collaboration with Bidstack Group PLC (providers of the ad-replacement infrastructure), we began delivering a version of Public Health England’s “Stay Home Save Lives” message into DiRT Rally 2.0. It’s fantastic to see conversations already being sparked amongst our community.”
 
Approximately 37 million people in the UK play games, and there are around 2,277 active video game companies in the UK.

Train2Game News Educational Benefits of Gaming

The British Esports Association, the not-for-profit organisation set up to support grassroots esports in the UK, has extended its partnership with AoC Sport to host a special event focused on esports in the education space.

The Esports in Education Summit is designed to bring together teachers, lecturers, researchers and more across the UK, to help them better understand the benefits of esports and how their schools, colleges, universities and students can get involved.

There will be talks, panel discussions and more from teachers, students and industry experts, as well as members of both AoC Sport and the British Esports Association. The full content track and speaker line-up will be revealed in due course.

There will also be networking opportunities and lunch will be provided on the day.

It will take place on Thursday May 21st at Sixways Stadium, Warriors Way, WR3 8ZE, the home of the Worcester Warriors rugby team. Registration begins at 10am and the event will conclude from 3.30pm. 

The event is free for teachers, lecturers and researchers, or £80+ VAT for anyone else. Guests can sign up to attend here.

It follows on from an Esports in Further Education forum that also took place at Sixways Stadium last year, but promises to be bigger and better this year, with up to 150 delegates able to attend. In terms of spaces, teachers and lecturers will have priority and it will be first come, first served.

Last year, AoC Sport’s Managing Director kicked off proceedings with a welcome and introduction, before Darren Newnham, British Esports Association advisory board member and Nexus CEO gave an overview on esports.

British Esports content director Dominic Sacco then spoke about the British Esports Championships for schools and colleges and, after lunch, a college esports panel including lecturers, teachers and students spoke about the benefits of esports, taking part in the Championships and shared best practice with the audience including tips on setting up esports clubs, getting the right equipment and forming teams.

Delegates also learnt about career pathways, how esports can increase attendance levels, promote teamwork, leadership and communication skills and help students make new friends and more.

Kaussar Bashir of South & City College Birmingham said: “It was an amazing event to kick-start and welcome esports into the FE sector. It was very informative, engaging and offered a complete network of support for someone like ourselves who are at the start of our esports journey.”

Andy Payne OBE, British Esports Association chair, commented: “We’re excited to be bringing an esports education event back to Sixways Stadium after the success of last year. 

“We’re looking forward to updating leaders in education about what’s happening in this space, what we’re doing and how they can get involved in esports.”

Dr Dean Hardman, AoC Director of Sport and Student Experience, said: “We’re delighted to be co-hosting the first Esports in Education Summit off the back of a successful FE forum last year.

“It’s a great opportunity for colleges to find out more about the growing esports sector and the wider benefits gaming can have on students’ personal development.”

Guests can sign up to attend the Esports in Education Summit here

Train2Game News London Games Festival Theme

​The London Games Festival has unveiled its GAMES ARE GOOD FOR YOU theme, supported with a city-wide and social media ad campaign, as its full programme goes live for 2020.

LGF 2020 takes place from 26 March to 6 April with 100,000 expected. Yearly tentpole events like Now Play This, EGX Rezzed and the festival’s own Trafalgar Square takeover will have a variety of experiences to offer games fans while the B2B strand for professionals grows to include more international attendance than ever before.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The London Games Festival is a great showcase of our booming games industry and the significant investment and jobs it brings to our capital. Across 12 days, it brings together professionals, businesses and games fans from across the world to celebrate this thriving sector and provide opportunities for our creative talent. I’m delighted that this year’s event will be delivering a positive message to the industry, as we show the world that London is open to business and innovation.”

50 speakers from around the world will talk about the art, craft and business of making games at festival programming including summits on Games Impact, Interactive Narratives, and Games Culture. Dedicated Global Games and Hollywood XP events will delve into international business and connections between films and games respectively. Tickets are now on sale via www.games.london.

Entirely free to attend is the LGF Business HUB, which will not only provide a meeting place plus roundtables and one-to-one mentoring sessions, but also provides the first official showcase for Ensemble, the festivals’s annual exhibition showcasing BAME video games developers and creatives, plus a range of exhibitors from international games studios. 

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, said:\u2028“Video games and interactive entertainment are a valuable part of the UK’s creative and digital industries. Games provide billions of people around the globe with entertainment, ways to connect with friends, and compelling stories, worlds, characters and themes. For 12 days across the city, the London Games Festival will showcase the creative excellence, the talent, the scaling innovative businesses and the positive impact games have in people’s lives.”

London Games Festival is backed by the Mayor of London with funding of £1.2m over three years and seeks to make London the games capital of the world.  It is delivered by Games London,an initiative from Film London, the capital’s screen industries agency, and video games trade body Ukie (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment). 

Games London has become a key driver for global business in the capital’s games sector through its Festival plus trade missions – latest research proves that since 2016 it has created over 550 jobs for London through its work connecting games studios with funders and investors.

Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “London’s games sector is a billion-pound industry, generating £1.4bn for the economy and directly employing over 5,100 roles. It is fantastic to see the London Games Festival expanding its reach and ambition, building on the success of last year’s festival and doubling our presence in Trafalgar Square, bringing games to life in the centre of London and celebrating work from around the world, drawing on the creative clusters outside of the capital and reflecting the terrific success of the UK industry. 

“Creative industries are the big success story of the UK and London economies and the games industry is a key, cutting-edge component of this success. As well as celebrating this achievement with such a strong programme of events and activities embracing the culture and creativity of games, I’m delighted that the festival will once again enable major new business opportunities through initiatives such as the Games Finance Market, which draws in up to 60 major investors to the UK for pitch meetings with games businesses.”

The full list of highlights for London Games Festival 2020: Ensemble – Thursday, 26 March onwards 

Various locations across the city

The acclaimed exhibition focusing on BAME games professionals can be seen across London
EGX Rezzed – Thursday, 26 March to Saturday, 28 March

Tobacco Dock

Europe’s biggest showcase of indie PC and console games
WIN – Friday, 27 March

Venue to be announced

Fifth edition of our event for women in games with added mentoring support for attendees
LGF Business HUB – Monday, 30 March & Tuesday, 31 March

Embankment Galleries, Somerset House

The B2B week of LGF starts with our all-in-one base of networking, conferences and learningGlobal Games Summit – Monday, 30 March

Embankment Galleries, Somerset House

A new invite-only conference for our international guests to kickstart the B2B weekGames Impact Summit – Monday, 30 March

Embankment Galleries, Somerset House

Dedicated to examining how games positively influence livesInteractive Narratives Summit – Tuesday, 31 March

Embankment Galleries, Somerset House

The second year for our afternoon examining how games are written and tell storiesGames Culture Summit – Tuesday, 31 March

Embankment Galleries, Somerset House

One of the longest running LGF events looks at the artistic practitioners shaping and reacting to gamesGames Finance Market – Wednesday, 1 April & Thursday, 2 April

Games London’s signature event connecting games studios to investors and publishers Games Finance Workshop- Wednesday, 1 April & Thursday, 2 April 

Institute of Directors

A two-day course on learning the fundamentals of games financing and then how to perfect your pitchHollywood XP – Wednesday, 1 April

The Strand Palace Hotel

A brand new event examines the crossover and connections between video games and other screen industriesBAFTA Games Awards – Thursday, 2 April

Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank

The world’s most iconic games ceremony honouring the past year of creative excellenceNow Play This – Friday, 3 April to Sunday, 5 April

Somerset House

A key part of LGF since it started, showcasing installations and interactive experiencesTrafalgar Square Games Festival – Friday, 3 April & Saturday, 4 April

A tentpole consumer moment in the festival bringing games to life in the centre of London
Cosplay Parade – Saturday, 4 April

The fourth year for this family event, and this time integrated into the Trafalgar Square Games FestivalPower UP – Saturday, 4 April to Sunday, 19 April

The Science Museum’s retro games showcase starts during the final weekend of the games festival

To find out more about the London Games Festival visit https://games.london/

Train2Game News Before It’s Too Late Saving Videogames

The National Videogame Museum is launching a new initiative today at BFI Southbank, leading a network of museums and independent collectors who are engaged in videogame preservation.

The Videogame Heritage Society (VHS) includes the Science and Media Museum, Bath Spa University, British Library and Museum of London as well as many independent collectors. It will develop best practice and share knowledge across the museum sector and beyond about preserving and exhibiting videogames.

Ian Livingstone, chair of the BGI (the charity which governs the NVM) commented, “This group is for anyone who cares about or works in videogame preservation. We recognise that in the UK and around the world, the expertise in this field isn’t just locked inside museums and heritage institutions, but also inside a wide range of dedicated and passionate private collectors. The VHS will bring everyone together to preserve the important heritage of videogames in our country.”

The event today will also mark the launch of a new White Paper: ‘Time Extend’, on video game history, heritage and preservation. There will also be a special address from legendary Nintendo console designer Masayuki Uemura. The National Videogame Museum has worked closely alongside Uemura, who is a professor at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto and is giving a talk at the NVM on 26th February.

The NVM preserves the history of UK development through its UK Collection, a special collection within the Museum that focuses on the story of British videogames creation. This was recently launched with Rebellion, the first studio to formally collaborate with the NVM on the project.

Gina Jackson, Trustee for the BGI, said “In order to develop as an art form, to become more diverse and reflect all kinds of areas of our lives, and to build a cultural confidence that is sometimes absent, we need to be able to learn about videogames. In order to learn about them, we need to be able to access them and make sense of them. The work we’re doing at the NVM and BGI isn’t out of nostalgia. It’s out of a concern for the future. We want to be able to inspire and educate new kinds of game-makers to make new kinds of games.”
 

Train2Game News GameBlast 2020

SpecialEffect’s annual GameBlast fundraising spectacular is back over the weekend of 21-23 February 2020, and the charity are inviting gamers to hit £1M raised over the event’s seven-year history.

GameBlast is the UK’s largest charity gaming weekend and has raised nearly £800,000 so far to support disabled gamers.

It’s a festival of sponsored gaming marathons, streams and events taking place in a multitude of bedrooms, lounges, village halls, colleges and studios, all with the aim of helping the charity transform the lives of more gamers like Joe.

Joe has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and although he can’t use a standard games controller or keyboard because of his very limited abilities, he can still enjoy the excitement and inclusion of video games because of a customised controller setup put together by the charity.

He’ll be one of the gamers taking part in GameBlast20.

“I’m playing because I know what a big difference SpecialEffect make to young disabled people’s lives,” he said this year. “I was finding it very difficult to use my computer because of my disability so they came to assess what specialised equipment I needed. They managed to get me playing games again.”

SpecialEffect’s Tom Donegan said, “GameBlast is such an important event for us, not only because of the donations it generates but also the way in which it connects our work to the gaming community at large. People are so inventive with the challenges they set themselves, and the range of activities is always such a joy to see! It’s always a fantastic feel-good weekend, with gamers coming together to help their fellow gamers. It’s the best excuse to game ever.”

You can sign up for GameBlast20 at https://www.gameblast20.org.uk and keep up with the action at https://twitter.com/gameblast

Train2Game News SEGA Retrotainment On A Yacht

REZtron Ltd., invites you to a
night of RETROTAINMENT like no other for an end of summer
pop-up…

Expect 80s & 90s SEGA nostalgia, competitions, drinks, dancing, a silent disco and much more…

All on top of Europe’s most exotic Mega Yacht Hotel, Sunborn, moored in the Royal Victoria Dock.

Re-live the golden era of gaming with legendary titles on all four generation
of SEGA consoles, Master System! Mega Drive! Saturn! Dreamcast!

  • Legendary games including Golden Axe, OutRun, Space Harrier, Sonic 2, Ecco the Dolphin, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter II, Ecco Altered Beast, Pac-Man, R-Type, Streets of Rage, Alien Storm, Thunderforce, Super Monaco GP, California Games, Virtua Racing, Revenge of Shinobi, Italia ’90, Micro Machines 2, Virtua Cop, Virtua Fighter,SEGA Rally, Virtua Tennis , Crazy Taxi, House of the Dead 2,Power Stones, Soul Calibur, Marvel Vs Capcom and many more will be there to keep you retrotained…
  • Retro games displayed on Retro CRT TVs and Huge Projector screens on walls and ceiling
  • SILENT DISCO – (3-Channels) Switch between 80s, 90s and even a retro game music channel throughout the night with our amazing LED lit headphones
  • Dance , Sing and Play retro games in front of a stunning panoramic view of the city skyline that’ll sure to keep your phone busy
  • Sonic speed run Competition + Prizes Giveaway!
  • WIN AN ORIGINAL MEGA DRIVE
  • Photographer will be there capturing all the antics

AND MORE…. 8, 16, 32 and 128-BIT Yacht Retrotainment Awaits…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwF_tbOcivg

The Yacht Retrotainment experience will take place on Saturday August 31st, 6pm til 12am at Sunborn.

Tickets can be bought through Eventbrite.

Further details on REZtron’s upcoming events or for retro gaming private hire & corporate bookings please visit Reztron.co.uk

Train2Game News Jagex Recruitment Drive

Jagex today announced key senior hires within its development teams to drive forward the company’s growth plans to continue the stellar performance of the RuneScape franchise, build new game experiences and support its third-party games publishing initiative.

With Jagex aiming to grow its workforce by 25% in 2019, Melissa Bachman-Wood joins as Vice-President of Studio, a games industry veteran holding more than 20 years’ experience. Melissa started her career at Maxis, and continued with Electronic Arts, managing cross-functional teams of The Sims franchise.

Today, Melissa is a leader in game development and live services, and has held senior studio head roles at Backbone Entertainment, KIXEYE, and Jam City.

In addition, James Burns has joined Jagex as Technical Director working on the company’s as-yet unannounced online action role-playing game. Burns holds over 18 years in the games industry specialising in online engineering with stints at PlayStation, Activision and Splash Damage.

At Jagex, Burns will be the driving force behind the game’s development, ensuring the project is at the frontline of technical innovation.

Malachy O’Neill has been appointed as Director of Quality Assurance. Formerly of Nintendo Europe, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Natural Motion and Zynga, O’Neill will head Jagex’s experienced team to deliver a range of high-quality QA services.

Nick Beliaeff, SVP of Game Development, Jagex, said:

“With the significant talent we’re able to continuously attract to Jagex, it’s very clear that big things lie ahead for the studio. These great new additions to the team add industry leading experience and knowledge, which fuel our goals to build and expand RuneScape and Old School RuneScape for players on both PC and mobile, extend the franchise to new platforms and new game experiences, and bring new living games into the Jagex portfolio.”

Melissa Bachman-Wood, VP of Studio, said:

“I’m thrilled to join the Jagex team and delighted for the chance to enable our teams to deliver even more great games to our players. I’m eager to help lead Studio strategy and execution to enable Jagex to excel in its ambition to be the home of living games, building out our world-class studio teams and processes.”

Jagex has also welcomed back Mark Faulkner as its new Director of Publishing Platform, while Ben Albon is promoted to IT Director from his previous role as Lead Operations Engineer.

To find out more about further career opportunities at Jagex, visit the studios careers portal, http://www.jagex.com/careers.

Train2Game News BAFTA Young Game Designers 2019 Winners

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced the winners of the 2019 BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition at an awards ceremony last night at its headquarters, BAFTA 195 Piccadilly.

Four aspiring game designers aged between 10 and 18, as well as an inspirational teacher, have all been honoured with BAFTA YGD awards.

The BAFTA YGD competition, now in its ninth year, presents awards in two main categories: The Game Concept Award, for a written idea for a new game; and the Game Making Award, for a game made using computer software. The 2019 winners, chosen by a jury of industry experts, are:

  • Jesse Waymont for ‘I Seek Death’ – Game Concept Award (10-14 years)
  • Elizabeth Orji-Smith for ‘Creatively Bankrupt’ – Game Concept Award (15-18 years)
  • Maximillian Robinson for ‘LASERASE: Demolition in the future’ – Game Making Award (10-14 years)
  • Adam Pace for ‘Wip’ – Game Making Award (15-18 years)

Matthew Applegate, founder of the Creative Computing Club, was awarded the YGD Mentor Award.

This Award is presented to an individual nominated by the public for their involvement in the education of young game designers.

In a written message to attendees and the young finalists, HRH The Duke of Cambridge and President of BAFTA, said: “This year the entries have an overwhelming social purpose to them, focusing on issues including mental health, climate change, conservation, disability, bereavement, and transgender rights. Many of the game ideas strive to educate players of all ages on the social issues they address, hoping to prompt real change in people’s lives. I think it is fantastic to see young people using games to express themselves and purposes that they identify with.”

The ceremony was hosted by Alysia Judge (games journalist and presenter) and Aoife Wilson (writer, presenter and video producer for Eurogamer), with notable industry figures presenting the awards to the winners, including YouTuber Dean Dobbs, game developer and co-founder of Media Molecule Siobhan Reddy, and BAFTA Games Vice President David Gardner. BAFTA-winning game designer Mike Bithell delivered the closing speech for the ceremony, praising the young designers’ creativity and talent.

The annual YGD competition, which began in 2010, aims to demonstrate the creativity that goes in to game design and give young people, and their teachers, an understanding of the rewarding careers available within the industry. The four winners, chosen from 53 finalists, received a host of prizes, including tours of games studios, software licenses, games and a mentor from the games industry to help them develop their skills further.

Previous winners have gone on to have successful careers within the industry. Dan Pearce was part of BAFTA’s flagship new talent scheme ‘Breakthrough Brits’, before becoming BAFTA nominated for his work. Dan Smith released his game The Spectrum Retreat with Ripstone Games Publishers last year. The game went on to be nominated at the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards.

Dr. Jo Twist OBE, Chair of Games Committee at BAFTA, said: “It is fantastic to see such a high calibre of games from upcoming creative talent being rewarded. It’s been another great year for the competition, and with previous winners having gone on to be BAFTA nominated, I can’t wait to see this year’s winners go out and make their own mark on the industry.”

Supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Creative Assembly (SEGA), Criterion (EA), Jagex, King, PlayStation, Ubisoft, and WB Games.

For more information visit http://ygd.bafta.org/

Train2Game News Affordable Home Arcade Cabinets

SAMBRO and TASTEMAKERS LLC are pleased to announce the first wave of Arcade1Up affordable arcade machines are available now across the UK.

Officially licenced and featuring the original artwork and styling of the classic cabinets from the Golden Age of Gaming, the machines are stocked with classic titles such as Space Invaders™, Asteroids®, Street Fighter™ II and Rampage.

The vision of US toy company Tastemakers, Arcade1Up started off as a passion project for CEO Scott Bachrach and his team. The vision was to replicate the feeling of playing in the arcades and pizza parlours of their youth… something they felt lacking on today’s console and handheld versions. Roll ahead to today, and the machines have met with critical acclaim, winning the prestigious TECH TOY OF THE YEAR AWARD at New York Toy Fair.

“Arcade1Up will transport you back to an era of button-mashing, neon lights and hours of addictive gaming fun,” said Scott Bachrach, CEO of Tastemakers, LLC. “It is a unique experience and truly brings back retro gaming the way it was meant to be played!”

Arcade1Up are ¾ scale replica copies of original arcade cabinets (full-size when used with an optional riser), complete with original artwork, authentic controls (including rotary sticks, rollerballs and joysticks). Each machine comes with multiple titles – the original-code versions of the games – complete with techniques and tactics to learn, hidden features to exploit. So, if you could master manoeuvres in Space Invaders, exploit using the edge of the screen in Asteroids or rack-up the extra lives in Defender back in the day… there’s nothing stopping you living that dream again!

The cabinets are priced at £349 each with the following titles:

Atari®️’s Asteroids®️ Cabinet:

Asteroids®️, Tempest®️, Major Havoc®️, Lunar Lander®️

Midway’s Rampage Cabinet:

Rampage, Defender, Joust, Gauntlet

Taito’s Space Invaders Cabinet:

Space Invaders™ Color, Space Invaders ™ Black and White

Capcom’s Street Fighter™ II Championship Cabinet:

Street Fighter™ II Championship Edition, Super Street Fighter™ II The New Challengers, Super Street Fighter™ II Turbo

For more information, visit:

Arcade1up.com

Train2Game News Codemasters Opens Birmingham Studio

Codemasters® today opened the doors to its new state-of-the-art development studio in the heart of Birmingham, UK.

The new office in the Grade II listed Alpha Tower, formerly the headquarters of regional television company ATV, is now home to the BAFTA award-winning F1® game development team which currently boasts 108 employees. The office space spans 14,000 square feet and has been equipped with the latest technology including a D-Box race simulator which delivers the ultimate driving experience. The new studio replaces The Custard Factory, where the company spent three years having previously been based in Tricorn House.

Codemasters’ ties to Birmingham dates back to the mid-1990s, as a development studio for the now defunct Rage Software. The studio lived-on as independent developer Swordfish Studios and was acquired by Codemasters in 2008, collaborating on titles including Jonah Lomu Rugby and World Championship Rugby. The studio’s first F1® game was the BAFTA award-winning F1® 2010 and the studio has produced F1® video games through to the present day.

“Birmingham continues to be a hub for attracting talented developers and, as our studio continues to expand, making Alpha Tower our new home is a testament to the quality of the people who want to work for Codemasters in this incredible city,” commented Ian Flatt, Head of Studio, Codemasters Birmingham. “Creativity is at the heart of every decision we make and we wanted a new home that inspires people, offers our employees the best working facilities and enables them to fulfil their potential.”

For more information on Codemasters go to http://www.codemasters.com/