THE UK’s biggest indie games show - the four-day Dare ProtoPlay festival - was officially opened in Dundee today by Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, and games industry legend Ian Livingstone, the creator of the Lara Croft series of games.
During the event thousands of members of the public will be given the chance to play brand new games created by students taking part in Abertay University’s internationally-renowned Dare to be Digital competition.
Fifteen teams of students from across the world travel to Abertay University each year to build a game in just nine weeks, with three winners then nominated for the exclusive BAFTA Ones to Watch Award for new games talent.
The Dare ProtoPlay computer games festival is free and will be open to the public until Sunday in Dundee’s Caird Hall and City Square.
Ms Hyslop said: “Scotland’s computer games industry is undoubtedly one of our global success stories and the Dare ProtoPlay festival never fails to showcase the innovative and cutting-edge skills, talent and infrastructure that Scotland has to offer.
“I am particularly glad to see a focus this year on involving women in game development, and promoting opportunities for them to get involved and become inspired to realise how their creative talent can help diversify and enhance this fast-growing and exciting market.”
She added: “Scotland is recognised globally as a creative and innovative nation and I’m delighted to open the Dare ProtoPlay festival which is an excellent platform for young people, game developers – emerging and experienced alike – design experts and gaming enthusiasts to experience the very best of video game production.”
Mr Livingstone said: “It’s great to be back in Dundee to open Scotland’s biggest computer games festival, speak to the next generation of entrepreneurs, and to see games created by some of the world’s most talented students in just nine weeks.
“The Dare ProtoPlay festival is a very inspiring event, giving children the opportunity to meet game creators – and to show them that their passion for art, design or maths can be harnessed to move from playing games at home to creating their own games as a fun, rewarding career.”
Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said she was delighted the festival was being staged in the city as Dundee prepared its final bid to become UK City of Culture 2017.
She said: “Scotland truly excels at creating computer games, and this weekend we’re showing families the latest games from up-and-coming companies right beside the brand new games created in our Dare to be Digital competition.”
Last year’s festival attracted 10,000 visitors over three days, with a fourth day being added this year due to the high demand.
Running alongside the festival is a conference looking at convergence between games and the arts, film and TV, featuring speakers from organisations including Channel 4, Edinburgh International Film Festival, the V&A and the V&A at Dundee.