Videogame festival opens in Nottingham

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The Independent Tech

A city-wide festival celebrating videogame culture is due to launch later today.

GameCity will take over vast swarthes of Nottingham for the sixth consecutive year, running until Saturday to coincide with the school half-term.

During that time it will entertain thousands of people with a host of key events, starting with a launch party in the city's main square tonight.

The main events get into full swing tomorrow when French games designer Eric Chahi, who produced the 1991 classic Another World, showcases his new game, From Dust.

Later in the week, Czech developer Jakub Dvorsky will unveil new games Samorost 3 and Botanicula before hosting the UK premiere of his puppet animated film, Kooky.

Naughty Dog's lead game designer Richard Lemarchand will discuss the blockbuster game Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception and Robin Hunicke of Thatgamecompany - which produced the PlayStation Network title Flower - will host a late-night projection of its new game, Journey.

Organisers of Nottingham say they hope to beat the recent record 45,000 attendance.

This year sees the launch of the GameCity Prize which is billed as gaming's equivalent of the Man Booker Prize.

Seven games have been shortlisted: Minecraft, ilomilo, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Pokémon Black, Portal 2, Child of Eden and Limbo.

They have been judged by a diverse range of people including Labour backbencher Tom Watson, the artistic director of the Southbank Centre, Jude Kelly, actor, writer, singer, comedian and novellist Charlie Higson and Blur drummer David Rowntree. The winner will be announced on Saturday night.

"Videogames are a £3 billion a year industry, offering a richly diverse set of experiences to an increasingly diverse group of people," festival director Iain Simons said. "It seems like everybody's playing, it's time to get everybody talking."