Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID is working alongside Staffordshire University to bring a digital games event unlike anything previously staged in the UK, to the City Centre this summer.

Stoke-on-TREND‘Stoke ON TREND GamesJam 2021’ is a contest that will see hundreds of aspiring programmers and Games Developers – otherwise known as Jammers - come together to create playable games, each based around a key City Centre theme.

It seeks to bring together creative minds to generate new and exciting experiences, simultaneously celebrating the culture and heritage of Stoke-on-Trent City Centre, through the medium of video games.

In the week-long development stage of the competition, amateur, professional and hobbyist game creators can participate and collaborate, exploring the process of game development in every aspect, including programming, iterative design, narrative exploration and artistic expression, providing they are aged 16 and over, and a student at high school, college or university.

They will be given seven days, commencing 29 May, to knuckle down and create a game in teams of up to four, aligning to one of eight themes, each recognising and celebrating an element of the City Centre’s history and heritage, but which will remain a secret until the Jam starts, providing a fair and even challenge to all participants.

Once the week is up and games have been developed by the ‘Jammers’, they will be made available to play on smartphones via QR codes located in the City Centre in the corresponding themes’ location from 19 June to July 11.

Not only will local students and aspiring games programmer have the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience, there is also an incredible prize in it too for the creator of the game that receives the highest rating.

The winners will have the opportunity to work in a studio style environment at the Staffordshire University Games Institute for a six-week period over the summer of 2021. They will have access to the University’s commercial licenses to turn their Stoke ON TREND GamesJam game into a commercially releasable game.

Dr Bobbie Fletcher, Director of Staffordshire University’s Games Institute, is excited to be developing a GamesJam in conjunction with Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID:

“GamesJams are an established part of the games industry internationally and are only rising in popularity every year with tens of thousands of Jammers getting involved from over 100 countries. But this is the very first time that one themed solely around a town – in this case, Stoke-on-Trent City Centre – has been hosted.

“As the Director of the newly formed Staffordshire Games Institute SUGI, I am so excited to be working alongside the BID to create this incredible opportunity to really put our city on the map as THE go-to destination for aspiring games designer, artists and programmers. The Institute has approximately 2,000 games students and aims to be the catalyst for Stoke-on-Trent to become the centre for Games and Esports in the UK and recognised for its excellence internationally.

“The prize of the opportunity to work in a studio style environment with professional software licenses to produce a commercially releasable game is something that any ambitious games designers, artists and programmers aspires to, and could well signify the start of what could be an incredibly successful and lucrative career in the Gaming industry.

“I look forward to the high calibre games that I know will be created by our students and other Jammers from across the country.”

Laura Morris, BID Director for the Entertainment Sector and Project Manager of Stoke ON TREND Games Jam 2021, thinks the GamesJam is just the ticket to solidify Stoke-on-Trent’s place on the international gaming map:

“The Stoke ON TREND GamesJam 2021 hopes to bring a refreshed new audience to our City Centre; keen to explore its offering in a unique, digital way.

“The involvement from our BID Businesses will be key to making the GamesJam a success by increasing the dwell time of our visitors.

“As well as QR codes opening up fun mobile games to be played out and about, there will be a number of additional ‘surprise’ QR codes located in various spots around the City Centre that allow the mobile user to access discounts and freebies to be redeemable at a number of venues.”

“In addition, COVID-permitting, the BID will be hosting live music from local DJs during select weekends in June and July to provide an enjoyable atmosphere for those visiting the City Centre and getting involved with playing games.”

Jonathan Gullis, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, says:

“This new, national-level digital event embraces our being one of the first gigabit cities in the UK and punctuates a transition to becoming more of a digitally-focused city.

This innovative initiative that I am whole-heartedly backing, builds on Staffordshire University’s fantastic reputation for digital technology, and seeks to enhance the City Centre as a place that young people will want to come to and use.”

Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO, said:

“It is great to see Stoke-on-Trent working with Staffordshire University on the city’s new GamesJam. Stoke-on-Trent is working hard to create an environment favourable to the creation and growth of digital businesses, while Staffordshire University provides some excellent video games degree courses. I hope that this games jam is not only great fun but also serves to highlight the potential of the UK video games industry.”

If you are an aspiring programmer or know someone who is, please visit www.stokeontrentcitycentre/gamesjam2021 to register your interest. Please note that GamesJam entrants must be aged 16 and over, and a student at school, college or a university.




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