Brandon Boyer

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Organizers of the Nottingham, UK-based games festival GameCity have announced that the festivities will continue for their fourth year this October 27-31st, and will be, they say, “very different from other videogame events [including GameCity 3]”.

Even more importantly, in a subsequent update, shortly thereafter, the GameCity crew have announced that all of the formal sessions/events at this newly dubbed ‘GameCity Squared’ — which in previous years were open to the public but commanded individual ticket prices — will now be free of charge.

While I unfortunately wasn’t able to make it to the 2008 GameCity, I did spent the week in Nottingham in 2007, and this is what made it near-instantly my favorite games event:

* Public access: the foundatational principle of GameCity is that, unlike most other worldwide events (bar Tokyo Game Show and, now, E4All), it’s a chance for the wider public to interface with game developers themselves. Case in point:

* In 2007, Lego Star Wars producer Jon Smith took to the stage to reveal the Wii version of Star Wars for the first time, to a crowd of pre-teens [read: the game’s actual target audience], where he was able to have a dialogue with the crowd (and was quickly shown up on Star Wars trivia by the precocious youth). This doesn’t normally happen.

* 2007 was also the year that Keita Takahashi also showed off Noby Noby Boy for the first time (above), as previously mentioned (and videoed) in my earlier post on the game.

* 2008 was the year that the festival attempted (and managed) to assembled the largest public congregation of zombies [the final tally came in at over 1200], where they were serenaded by Jonathan Coulton (above).

That’s a short list of a lot of fantastic things that happen yearly, and, long story a little bit shorter: you want to be there this year, and I do too.

Check the GameCity site for further upcoming details.

This is when it happens [GameCity]

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