Level-up! Norwich Gaming Festival draws to a close with cosplay masquerade

PUBLISHED: 17:29 03 June 2017

Force Academy with Battle Stations Activities Centre at the Norwich Gaming Festival 2017 Photo: Kerry Leathley.

Force Academy with Battle Stations Activities Centre at the Norwich Gaming Festival 2017 Photo: Kerry Leathley.

Kerry Leathley.

A popular gaming festival which has attracted about 60,000 visitors drew to a close with a parade of people dressed as their favourite characters.

Now in its fourth year, the week-long Norwich Gaming Festival - held at The Forum - gave people the chance to indulge in their love of computer and board games by playing the latest hi-tech releases and getting an insight into how they are made.

They could also listen to talks by gaming industry professionals and try out the virtual reality games of the future, as well as buy merchandising for their favourite titles.

Danny Mcilwrath, festival project manager, said: “It’s gone fantastically well. It’s still really early but figures would suggest we’ve had around 60,000 visitors attend the festival over the week.

“One of our main objectives is to raise awareness of the different aspects of gaming. We show the responsible side of gaming, how to manage children’s time, plus the educational benefits and uses of gaming.

“There’s a lot more public interest in gaming and I think that’s do with the growth in the industry. The number of games made in Norwich has doubled, partly to do with graduates from Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) but is possible to find jobs.”

Mark Wickham, the course leader of games and art design at NUA - one of the lead sponsors of the festival - said: “It’s gone really well. It’s bigger than ever. It’s the fourth year the festival has run and each year it’s getter bigger.”

“There’s been a lot more interest from the public. There are more people making games - the quality is so much higher and it’s really good to see graduates staying in the area and using their skills.

“When the festival started there was a core family audience but that has now developed and the industry aspect of the festival has grown.

“Since the doors opened on Monday morning there’s just been this constant buzz. It’s not stopped.”

Shaun Lewis, 43, from Dereham, who took part in the closing cosplay masquerade with his son 10-year-old son Ben, said: “It’s twice the size of last year but it’s great. I think it’s really a chance for all sorts of gamers to get together.”

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