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Norwich Gaming Festival

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Take a selfie with Pac-Man in front of the Forum   

 The Norwich Gaming Festival took place at the Forum this weekend, with a games-themed pub quiz still to come on Friday 10th April. Retro consoles like the NES were available to play alongside new games and apps by local indie developers, and face-painters were on hand to transform visitors into classic characters like Mario and Pikachu. As well as the opportunity to take a selfie next to a giant Pac-Man statue, visitors could drop in on talks on how to make it as a YouTuber or programmer, or how to break into the world of competitive cosplay. If you want to know more about the gaming industry, check out the books below:

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Writing for Video Games (BOOK ZONE 794.8 INC) is aimed at writers who want to have a go at scripting video games. Endorsed by the annual Writers and Artists Yearbook and written by the author of The Witcher and Broken Sword, the book includes chapters on how to market yourself and master technical writing. Topics like plot and characterisation are presented from an industry point of view- how much should you change a well-loved character? Will your story make sense to gamers in Japan or Europe, as well as the UK? If you’re a literature, film or philosophy student who loves profound or cinematic games like The Last of Us, perhaps you should consider a career in writing for video games.

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 Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life (BOOK ZONE 794.8 KOH) was written by Wired journalist Chris Kohler during his time in Japan. Kohler interviews creators like Shigeru Miyamoto to find out why Japan’s gaming franchises- Mario, Pokemon, Final Fantasy, Zelda and Resident Evil- are famous all over the world, and how they are different to games produced in Europe and America. The book includes a guide to Akihabara (Tokyo’s geek central) and how to track down games that have never been released in the UK. Video game developers play a big part in Japan’s creative industry, from the composers who write the scores for Final Fantasy to the manga artists who colour Pokemon cards. Use this book to study your business etiquette before you travel to Tokyo in search of a job!

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San-X mascot Rilakkuma (‘Relax Bear’ in English!) hanging out in Tokyo’s Akihabara district

Mind at Play: The Psychology of Video Games (BOOK ZONE 794.019 LOF) was written back in 1983, when many people were convinced that gaming led to violence amongst young people. Geoffrey and Elizabeth Loftus use psychological experiments like Pavlov’s dogs to explain why games are equally frustrating and rewarding. Do games teach us that it’s easier to just give up? Or can they improve our memory and make us more determined? At just over 200 pages, this is a quick breakdown of the views held by gamers and non-gamers. Over 20% of Minecraft players are under 15, and some adults are afraid their kids are spending more of their time on ‘virtual Lego’ than real-world friendships. If you’d like to become a games journalist, this book will familiarise you with both sides of the debate.

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TRON (DVD LOBBY 791.43) is a different kind of Eighties classic. Jeff Bridges (seen recently in The Giver and Seventh Son) plays Kevin Flynn, a programmer who gets stuck inside the mainframe of software company ENCOM. His arch-rival at the company has designed a Master Control Program, or MPC, which he plans to use to attack the Pentagon. Flynn is trapped when he attempts to hack into ENCOM, and forced to compete in a light cycle race by the MPC, who will disintegrate the loser. Flynn attempts to destroy the shield protecting the MPC with help from TRON, a program he created which appears in human form within ENCOM. The special effects in TRON were created using a computer that had just 2MB of memory, and required more effort than Disney’s usual cel-shaded animation. The iconic black, yellow and blue sets and costumes were designed by French comic book artist Moebius, who also worked on sci-fi standards Alien and The Fifth Element.  A sequel to TRON was released in 2012, but was criticised for over-using the special effects that made Jeff Bridges appear as his younger self. With a third film due for release in 2016, we recommend you check out the original!

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These special effects were created by a computer with 90% less MB than the average mobile app. 

More information on the Norwich Gaming Festival can be found here and here.

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