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Edinburgh Interactive Festival

I was recently lucky enough to be chosen as the official photographer for this years Edinburgh Interactive Festival, the E.I.F. It ran in the Radisson Blu Hotel on August 11th + 12th but what is the Edinburgh Interactive Festival? Until I was approached I didn’t know either.

The website describes it best with the following paragraph: –

Edinburgh Interactive is an annual event to celebrate the creative culture of interactive entertainment. EI is for developers, producers, professionals, creators, advertisers,  thinkers, artists; facilitating links and creating a platform for discussion across the spectrum of interactive digital media. Through two days of conferencing and unique networking events, Edinburgh Interactive will connect you with the digital trendsetters of today and the upstarts of tomorrow. Come and be a part of EI where businesses, brands, creative leaders, and consumers come together in a truly inspirational setting.

My job was to wander around for the 2 days and obtain good photos of all the speakers as well as some reportage style images of the event itself. I also went along to the speakers dinner on the 10th of august where Legend of Kremlin planned to give a special award. As I sneaked around the room firing off shots I had no idea the company I was in until I saw the event schedule the following day.

11th

I arrived to find my photo-pass sitting amongst the Nintendo stands and the event organizer, Alexa, with a big smile on her face. The place looked great with Nintendo showcasing the new Nintendo 3DS and Mario Kart game. As a geek and an avid gamer I was curious and pleased to see that almost all of the talks were actually subjects I was interested in hearing about. The festival was split into 2 sections. Section 1 was the conference for businesses and corporate chat. Section 2 was the public sessions with advice and demonstrations.

In the conference the best presentation of the day fell to Playgen with their comedic, fun and interactive presentation on Gamification. The facial recognition talk by Image Metrics was also very impressive and the day was rounded off by the heated ‘Great Debate’. Then out of the blue Edge Magazine dropped a bomb! An award to the 4 designers behind one of the best games of the year, LA Noire by Rockstar Games. I managed to steal these 4 heroes for a little photo before they were mobbed after the presentation.

In the public session there was a lot going on. Ian Livingstone, basically a god among geeks, was opening the speaking. Founder of Games Workshop, writer of the Fighting fantasy books and man behind Lara ‘Ooft’ Croft… I pretty much just mumbled and panicked every time I walked by him…

Followed on by chats from the Director of GAMESbrief, Nicholas Lovell and Kevin Beimars from Straandlooper Animation. The public session ended with the massive BAFTA Young Persons Game Designer Workshop. Fun filled and full of advice from some of the industries big names. Kids came in and got a chance to put their game ideas before the experts and getting a head start on competition for this BAFTA award.

I then joined everyone for a much needed drink and a mingle!

12th

As I came into the building and headed for the conference I was immediately impressed by the first speaker. Steve Ackerman of Somethin’ Else was giving a talk on using different mediums to produce games and he was showing off one of their newest games The Nightjar. A free game for the Apple generation. So why was this different? It was an audio only game! Amazing, it looked and sounded so impressive as well as a little scary. Apple users, download this and play it in the dark.

Next came Mark Gerhard, CEO of Jagex Games Studio – Creators of one of the biggest online multi-player MMO games, Runescape. As a big MMO fan I was in awe to meet this huge(literally) gaming guru. Following on from Mark was a couple of business aimed talks on where gaming is going, funding, etc.

The public session today was a buzz thanks to almost a whole day of presentations and workshops. The day opening with a talk from the legend Ian Livingstone again but the days focus was all about the games on show… Beauty Town, a new facebook game was a popular showcase. As soon as this finished the room began to burst for the 2 final presentations. Disney Universe game-play and the new Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword preview! Even I was peeing my pants a little about these.

Disney Universe looked great, kind of like the Lego games but with so much Disney it hurt. Zelda, shown on the Wii, had people trying to squeeze in for a look. Nintendo reps slashed, spun and shot there way through a series of levels in the game. It looks fantastic! Best game I have seen come for the Wii.

And then before I knew it, I was on the train home to edit an incredible 1600 odd photos from the 2 and a bit days. I can’t wait till next year which is already being pencilled as bigger and better!

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 at 2:11 AM : This image is copyrighted and unauthorized use is prohibited, no permission to manipulate this image will be given. If you wish to use the image commercially or in publishing, please contact David Kane.

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