Norwich Gaming Festival 2014: Exclusive Insight with Robin Silcock

Norwich Gaming Festival is almost upon us!!! I was lucky enough to ask one of the organisers, the fabulous Robin Silcock, a few questions ahead of the big event. She’s a girl gamer herself, so naturally I was excited to have a chat to her. Here’s what she had to say…

What initially got you interested in gaming?

I chose to study games art and design at university because it enabled me to combine my passions for technology, art, music, design, and promotion. The games industry is thriving, and expanding, and in 2010 when I was looking to my job prospects after graduation I wanted to be part of a growing and innovative sector, and the games industry encompasses that entirely.

Although my parents were never digitally-inclined my brother had a N64 and I have fond memories of getting to play Golden Eye and Sonic with Olly.

How did the Norwich Gaming Festival come about?

The host and venue The Forum in Norwich approached Alastair and I in late January as we are co-organisers of the Norfolk Indie Game Developers group as they had a space in their events-calendar and wanted to expand on their previously popular event “Retro Arcade”. We have really enjoyed working with The Forum staff as it is great to see such a public venue embracing the making of games as well as the playing of them. So for the past 2 months of so Alastair, myself, staff from GAME (our principle sponsors), staff from Norwich University of the Arts and The Forum have been tirelessly working to put together the best event possible in the short turn-around!

What can we look forward to during the Festival? Have you got any exciting exclusives for us?

The festival will cover ten days and will include the Retro Arcade alongside Developer Talks, a 4-day Game Jam, a Games Art Exhibition, Workshops and attractions across the 10 days. In terms of exclusives, our developer talks from creators of Olli Olli and Chompy Chomp Chomp will both be talking on their latest projects, and what will be coming next for them – which is not yet public knowledge and we are really excited to have them.

There will be a full-size helicopter stationed at The Forum on the Sunday of the festival alongside some excellent independent developers from East Anglia showing off their latest game releases. Some games at the festival on Sunday 13th will have not been publicly shown beforehand – so these too will be exclusive.

What do you think will be a personal highlight of yours at the Festival?

The whole festival will be an amazing experience for me, having not been involved in such a large project before. The developers visiting to talk have been inspirations to my own work so I am really looking forward to meeting them. Surgeon Simulator is still one of the funniest games I have ever played – so getting to meet Imre Jele will be excellent!

On a more personal level I am curating and coordinating the Artwork Exhibition at the Festival, and cannot wait to see the artwork of fellow students and alumni of my course being displayed in such a large public venue. Exhibiting digital and game art is still very new territory, and seeing how our presentation of the work is received by the general public will be fascinating. The Forum is known for showing artwork in their large Atrium, though this tends to be art from more traditional mediums, so our creative collection of works will be sure to turn heads!

Team Xbox one, Team Ps4, both or neither?

So far neither – as I have little enough free time to play on the consoles I do have; Xbox360 and PS3 I will be purchasing the latest generation when my schedule frees up. I am enjoying the indie releases on Steam for PC though – especially the likes of Gone Home and Papers, Please.

What is your most anticipated new game of 2014?

I am quite the petrol-head at heart and would really love to have a play of Drive Club when it is released. Drive Club will combine gorgeous graphics with the community that motorsport inspires in its fans and brings it to the console platform. The current trailers for the game look amazing. And of course the newly announced Assassins Creed Unity, I am a big fan of their franchise and am looking forward to exploring Paris in their latest release.

Where do you see gaming in ten years?

I am nowhere near qualified enough to try and predict what might happen in the next 6 months in the games industry let alone ten years! Just looking at where the industry was a few years ago, and where it is now – I would think one important development is the BAFTA Games Awards showing critical acclaim of games, and a clear broadening of the spectrum of winners of these awards shows that the industry is changing and evolving – in which direction I would not be able to say.

And finally, tell me your favourite game of all time and why?

It would be impossible to name just one game but there have certainly been a handful which have given me an experience that no other medium could. Fable 2, Call of Duty: World at War, Gone Home, Bioshock: Infinite, The Sims, and Zoo Tycoon.

Exciting stuff! I will be about at the Gaming Festival over that weekend (12th and 13th of April) talking to fellow tech enthusiasts and getting involved in some serious game action.

To find out more, visit Norwich Gaming Festival’s Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/NorwichGamingFestival

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