Drop In and Play showcases Dundee's computer games talent

Players seized the chance to try out new and prototype games, packing into Dundee's second Drop in and Play event. Internationally famed for its industry leadership, the city is home to a large number of superb designers keen to test out their latest ideas.

Organised by NEoN Digital Arts Festival and DCA (Dundee Contemporary Arts), Sunday’s session showcased the work of around a dozen games makers from the city and beyond.

Among them were Romana Ramzan from Denki and Malath Abbas from Quartic Llama – covering the spectrum from well-known companies, to small independents and emerging student talent.

Lyall Bruce, director of NEoN, said: “There’s so much talent in Dundee and we want to see it thrive. The Drop in and Play sessions are a way to do this because they bring together designers and players in a really creative environment.

“For some designers and companies it’s a way to show off new products, for others it’s an opportunity to do some market testing and iron out wrinkles. And for players it’s the chance to get a sneak preview of next generation games.

“More than all this, we see Drop in and Play events as a way to encourage the kind of grass roots interest that means that Dundee will keep on producing inspired young games designers.”

The first event took place at DCA last year as part of the NEoN digital arts festival, this proved such a success that DCA suggested a follow up.

Clive Gillman, director of DCA, said: “It's very exciting to see the skills and imagination of games designers on show - and especially given the way this is inspiring a new generation. We had lots of young people coming along to enthuse over the work on show, many of whom will be part of our new Code Club which starts next month, offering hands-on programming activities for 9-12 year olds.

“The fact that major Dundee-based organisations like Bright Solid and NESTA are backing this makes it possible for us to link with learning innovators like Derek Robertson to really make something special happen.”

The level of creativity at Sunday’s event was impressive. One game involved players grabbing letters from a conveyor belt and fill in shapes to make words. Children thought it was great, suggesting real stealth education potential.

Another had been created in just 48 hours at a games jam where the theme was the human heart beat. This game had waves moving across the screen – like on a heart monitor – which the character had to jump: simple, but well-made and really effective.

NEoN hopes that Drop in Play events will become a regular feature of Dundee games life.

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