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Event Report: GameCity Salves The Culturally Curious

Gamasutra attended the unique GameCity event held recently in Nottingham, UK, and here presents impressions of the event and how it differs, somewhat refreshingly, from the conventional game convention.
Most gaming conferences target their appeal to the game-playing public, die-hard fans, the retail trade or toward game developers -- as a true cultural festival, Nottingham's GameCity has a distinctly unique vibe. The third annual event, held October 30 through November 1, was presented in cooperation with the UK's Nottingham-Trent University and the city of Nottingham itself, whose varied locations served as a fitting backdrop to the variety of cultural presentations that defined the event. Most of the main talks took place at the Gatecrasher, a functioning night club converted to the event's central presentation space. Several other events were located within easy walking distance from Nottingham's main Market Square: an Indiecade exhibit of independent games at the Malt Cross gallery, individual speaker talks and workshops at Waterstone's, and public demonstrations of Nintendo Wii games and Sony EyeToy games in the main square. GameCity differs from most game conferences in that it's intended to appeal to a different kind of audience: the culturally curious. This year's event drew a wide audience of academics and students, alongside the general public -- many Nottingham residents, and notably parents dragged along by eager kids. The presentations at the conference were appropriately varied in focus: the speakers were asked to target their talks to a general audience, so most of the presentations weren't so much news items as historical or retrospective in nature. Because of the more casual nature of the venues and the crowd, the speakers responded with a refreshing candor. For example, all of them came without the usual accompanying body of press representatives and handlers. Gamasutra attended the event and will present our series of commentaries on some of the festival's standout presentations over the next few days - keep checking this central post for links to each of the individual write-ups.

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