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Record numbers attend Nottingham GameCity festival

The organisers of Nottingham's GameCity festival have revealed record visitor numbers.

Festival's director Iain Simons says his team has been encouraged by the figures and they are now exploring new possibilities for 2011.

The festival was officially opened by Michael Rawlinson, the director of games industry body UKIE, and it included appearances from acclaimed Japanese games developer Keita Takahashi and a string of indie game creators from Jonathan Blow, maker of Xbox 360 title Braid, to Adam Saltsman, producer of the iPhone game, Canabalt.

It also included a late-night concert in a church by videogame music composer James Hannigan as well as a game of Pac-Man on the streets of Nottingham and a tie-up between Nottingham's Primary Care Trust and Electronic Arts to promote the health benefits of gaming.

“The most unexpected challenge for us to be honest was the audience numbers,” says Simons, who added that two events – the ability to play the games SpyParty and Crysis 2 inside a huge tent on Nottingham's main square – proved particularly popular.

“We were surprised and delighted to experience our first excited rush by folks towards an event. We've never had to implement a queueing system before because of a surge, so the palpable increase in attendance was great.”

GameCity aims to provide an alternative experience to other events in the gaming calendar. It leans more towards exploring videogame culture rather than introducing people to playing games.

“We're just as concerned with educating people into understanding that games aren't a danger to them or their families,” says Mr Simons. ““This year I think we really came of age in terms of the way in which we worked with and engaged the broader industry with the public and new partners,”