Slamdance gamemakers return |

Slamdance gamemakers return

Rumble Box, an independent game will be featured in this year's 2006 Guerilla Gamemaker competition at the Slamdance Film Festival. Photo: courtesy Sam Roberts, Slamdance.

For years the Slamdance Film Festival has helped young filmmakers working with low budgets make a name for themselves and propel them into the movie business. Recently they added a new category of artist the same opportunities. In addition to the film festival, there will be a video game festival. The Slamdance Guerilla Game-maker Competition has the same mission as the Slamdance Film Festival: to bring the work of independent artists before the public. "We are hoping to get these game-makers some exposure to the major game companies," says Slamdance’s games competition manager, Sam Roberts. "All of the games can be downloaded on the Internet, so we also want the public buzz about them to increase, so the number of downloads will go up," Roberts said. He is also hoping the independent game community will grow to give new game makers a place to go. Video games festivals are a new concept, but Roberts thinks they will become more mainstream in time. "As video games are becoming more and more accepted as an art form, we are beginning to see more young people majoring in video game designs and more independent companies emerging. I would not be surprised if in a few years Sundance did something similar." This year Slamdance will feature 12 independent video games and their makers from all over North America, with a gamut of genres from casual to MMOG (Massive Multiplayer Online Game). The festival will be held from January 21 to 24 at the Treasure Mountain Inn. "We will have a lounge with computers for the public to stop in and sample the games," says Roberts. "We want to encourage anyone to come in and try these games. The makers will be there answering questions about their games and the video game industry." At the end of the festival there will be an awards ceremony featuring grand jury and audience prizes. "When judging the games, the most important factor we look at is how fun the game is," says Roberts. "We also take in consideration things like the story line. We try not to take the graphics into consideration when judging the games since many of the companies are working with a small budget and cannot afford to spend too much money on them. There is so much more to consider than just the films and special effects." "These games are truly fun," says Roberts, "and their makers would really appreciate the public trying them out and giving feedback. We have comfortable chairs and plenty of computers."

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