A game-focused downtown Hamilton event is expected to draw visitors from throughout the Midwest.
Hamilton Games Festival is scheduled for Sept. 20-22 and will include hundreds of independent games, arcade games, experimental art games and card games, plus an an indie game showcase by GDEX, the Midwest's largest gaming expo.
There also will be indie board games by Cincinnati-based board game convention Ice and Dice, retro games and pinball games, an interactive games art exhibit, vendors, cosplay, concert and more.
Hamilton Games Festival will take place across several sites, both indoor and outdoor, including Marcum Park, RiversEdge, the Hamilton Central YMCA, Strauss Gallery, the Hamilton Mill, Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton, A Game Knight and Pinball Garage, Kidd said.
“You have all sorts of people in all sorts of walks of life (who) enjoy the outdoors and we want to be able to facilitate that,” he said.
In addition, the event will include several eSports tournaments held by AllMid, the Midwest's largest collegiate eSports association, a booth by Playstation, tabletop games, and a Pokemon GO! event, among others.
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Hamilton Games Festival also will focus on games education, according to Jay Kidd, founder of award-winning game development studio Wraith Games.
“It’s not just for people who play games, it’s for people who want to one day make games, as well,” Kidd said.
The barrier for entry to the gaming industry is dropping every year, and anyone with even a small amount of technical know-how can create games and find success in it, he said.
“Here in the Midwest, sometimes you feel trapped,” Kidd said. “You’re like ‘Oh no, that’s a California thing. I couldn’t possibly do that’ and that’s just not true. You absolutely can and we need to be able to show that to people.”
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The festival is something Kidd and his team have been wanting to tackle “for a while.”
“Game conventions, for a lot of people, are really their first look at like ‘Man, there are other people like me. There are other people out here making games,’” he said. “I know it was really important when I started gettint into it back in 2005. To be able to bring something like this to my hometown is huge.”
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Hamilton will close down several streets for vendors, food trucks and special activities, Kidd said.
The festival is free to attend but premium tickets will be available to purchase for $20 and will provide access to more event features.
If it is successful, the festival will become an annual offering, Kidd said. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/HamiltonGamesFestival.
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