If you are sitting there tinkering away with an unreleased indie game, perhaps wondering how to get it in front of a few focus testers, some press maybe, heck even someone from Hookshot, then here is a solution: OpenGameCity. Every year, the wondrous GameCity festival in Nottingham makes available a series of time slots in venues across town for upstart coders and entertainers. Whether you have a game, a stand up comedy act, a film or a piece of theatre, you can apply to OpenGameCity and you may end up showing off your masterpiece to hundreds of festival goers.
This year, there are 50 slots available, plus game developers can also claim a spot in the huge tent that covers the historic market square during the entire festival. This is indie gaming central during the event and has provided some of the most memorable moments over the last few years. It was here last year that many of us discovered the beautiful exploration ‘game’ Proteus, with creator Ed Key talking visitors through its ambient majesty and giving out his contact details scrawled onto hazel nuts – the wag. It was here also, that Andrew Smith of Spilt Milk studios provided festival-goers with cake and little cut-out-and-build milk cartons*; it was here that Angry Mango showed off Mush, and here that I first met Rob Fearon, ridiculously talented creator of eccentric shooters like War Twat (hello Rob!). It is a place where indie studios, the public and journalists meet in a head on collision of vastly differing objectives and expectations, which is what makes it so gorgeous.
Anyway, if you have a game, or a bit of a game, or a comedy act about games, or a cooking tutorial for gamers and stand-up comedians, the application form is online now. Here is a sort of promo video that the organisers have done:
Get over to the OpenGameCity site and sign up.
*My favourite bit was when Andrew handed an iPad to my two young sons so that they could play his game, Hard Lines. When he went back to them barely a minute later, they’d closed it and were playing Jetpack Joyride. Luckily everyone saw the funny side.