Norwch Games Festival 2020 cancelled

Richard Smith
Norwich Games Festival

After careful consideration Norwich Games Festival 2020 has been cancelled.

The wellbeing and safety of our amazing visitors and contributors is our number one priority.

With May the predicted peak of the pandemic we took the difficult decision to cancel the festival. We’re gutted to cancel what promised to be the best festival yet. But rest assured we WILL return in 2021 for more gaming fun!

Stay at Home Festival Content
See below for some great ideas of things to do and watch while you are at home.

STEM Activity

School may be out but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! The coming weeks and maybe months are the ideal time to showcase the fantastic resources and games on offer. So take a break from the news and check out these excellent resources.

Young Game Designer Teaching Resources (10-16) 

Unfortunately the BAFTA Young Game Designer competition entries have closed for 2020 – but that doesn’t stop you from making use of their incredible teaching resources, all available for free through the BAFTA YGD website.

These lesson plans guide students all the way through developing their own game concept – and are perfect for learning from home, too!

Rabbids Coding (7+)

The Rabbids invade space, and in true Rabbids-style, turn your spaceship upside down! Using blocks of code, you need to give them instructions to clear up the mess they have created. This free educational game is aimed for players from the age of 7 and upwards.

GameMaker Studio 2

GameMaker Studio 2 is the latest and greatest incarnation of GameMaker! It has everything you need to take your idea from concept to finished game. With no barriers to entry and powerful functionality, GameMaker Studio 2 is the ultimate 2D development environment! There’s a 30 day free trial of GameMaker Studio 2 available to everyone; a perfect way to get cracking on your first game development project. 

Shaun Spalding GameMaker tutorials 

You may recognise Shuan from his involvement in Norwich Games Festival – having tirelessly built GameMaker games for live audiences for the last few years, alongside showcasing his own game, “PokeyPoke”. Shaun has created a wealth of brilliant YouTube tutorials built specifically for GameMaker Studio 2 – including this tutorial on how to create your very own platformer!

Unity (Advanced) 

Unity is an advanced game engine used by development studios all over the world. Unity Personal is free to dive into – and there’s a whole bunch of great resources to get you started on their website.

Unity has been used to create a whole bunch of incredibly popular games, including the Cuphead, Monument Valley and the Overcooked series!

As a way to support the development community during, Unity is offering 3 months of free learning resources – giving you the opportunity to dive right in. More information can be found here.

Dreams (12+)

Available on PS4 systems. In Dreams, you can play thousands of games created by players across the world – arcade games, RPGs, horror, comedy and more, even some genres that might not exist… until now. With new Dreams being published every day, there is always something to explore, discover or get inspired by.

Want to learn to make your own games? Dreams gives you the tools and teachings to learn to create what you want – games, memes, music, art and more – shared with and played by a global community.

Scratch (8+)

With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.

Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge. You can get started with Scratch, and check out a wealth of getting started videos here.

Erase All Kittens (8-14) 

Children learn languages quickly and easily, so why not teach them the professional languages of technology?

E.A.K. is a revolutionary, online game that provides kids aged 8-14 with knowledge of both computational thinking and professional coding languages, to effectively prepare them for 21st Century degrees and careers. You can even spend quality time playing and learning alongside your child, since E.A.K. is for beginners (and technophobes!) of any age.

National Video Game Museum

The National Videogame Museum in Sheffield has also been collating an incredible compendium of “Actually Good!” educational games that you can play at home with kids if self isolating.

You can check out the thread as it grows here!

The NVM have also been creating some incredible learning resources – including this worksheet that helps you create your very own pixel art!

YouTube Content

Our very own Norwich Games Festival YouTube channel is stuffed to the brim with content from previous festivals & events. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with the latest festival talks & content. 

Below, we’ve also listed some of our favourite educational YouTube channels.

AI & Games is a show aimed at helping the world better understand how AI makes for better games and games make for better AI. AI & Games is presented by Festival veteran Dr Tommy Thompson who works as an AI researcher and game developer.

Game Maker’s Toolkit is a deep dive into game design, level design, and game production, hosted by Mark Brown.

People Make Games “tell cool stories about games and the people that make them”.

We hope this list has been of use to you – and of course, feel free to share this with anyone who might be able to make use of it!