2024 Wrap Up

After nine months of meticulous planning and 9 days of exhibit, the curtains have closed on the 10th edition of Now Play This. Yet, the excitement lingers! Plans are afoot for upcoming online sessions and an international game design camp. As we prepare for these endeavours, let me take you on a journey behind the scenes of the festival’s recent in-person edition in April.

This year, I had the honour of serving as the Artistic Director, and I chose a theme close to my heart: Liminality. A concept I find that resonates deeply within the game art community, representing a space and time for transition, identity construction, and the creation of new meanings by embracing differences. Working closely with Nick Murray, NPT’s Lead Producer, we embarked on a journey of funding applications, seeking partnerships old and new, and curating a lineup of radical projects that aligned with our theme.

Collectarium

 

The festival unfolded across nine exhilarating days, featuring exhibits across various rooms, open terraces, and a diverse lineup of events including LARPs, screenings, playful sessions, and talks. Our mission was to challenge boundaries, inspire, and celebrate the multifaceted nature of play.

Among the highlights were the collaborative installation Labyrinth by Julia Makivic and Emma Wood, designed in partnership with A MAZE Festival, where visitors engaged in weaving their own labyrinth, symbolising the intertwining paths of life. Additionally, Astro.log.IO by an international multidisciplinary collective offered an immersive experience that blended playfulness and sound experimentation, inviting visitors to explore their natal sound charts.

Labyrinth
Astro.log.io

 

The festival also showcased games that delved into environmental consciousness, such as Atuel, a docugame following Argentina’s Atuel River, and Beyond the Garden by Laura Palavecino, which explored the biodiversity of the Parana River Islands.
Throughout the festival, visitors were encouraged to dive into the multifaceted nature of play through interactive experiences like Moving Memories by Pamela Cuadros, immersive VR narratives like OneroomBabel by Sanghee, subverted controls like Crashboard by Emilie Breslavetz & Léon Denise, or the Nave Remoto arcade by Videogamo that brought together Buenos Aires and London.

The program activities were designed in the same spirit offering deeply engaging LARPS like Borders and fun playful sessions like Boring Office Party, family interactive sessions like Snap kit! or I did it! And dedicated tracks such as the documentaries and machinima night screenings or the Game Studies Day co-produced with the Cologne Game Lab and with the support of British DiGRA, Brazil DiGRA and Counterpoints Arts (you can revisit the talks here!).

Machinima Screening

This new edition wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t thanks to the dedication of our incredible team, including lead producer Nick Murray, assistant producer, Susie Buchan (producer), tech lead Jo Summers and tech producer Daniel Green, Grace Aitman on social media, Jane Morris as production & research assistant, Richard Hogg and Rianna Suen in charge of the visual identity, Alex Parrot on graphic design and Marina Díez Pereiro leading the scavenger hunt. Also this couldn’t have been done if it wasn’t for the facilitators always ready to welcome the visitors, assist the artists and help with the games.

We are immensely grateful to our institutional partners and sponsors: London Games Festival, Somerset House, Arts Council England, Goethe-Institut London, Glum, Cologne Game Lab, Institut Francais London, Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), and A MAZE Festival. Their support was instrumental in bringing our vision to life.

As we bid farewell to this year’s edition of Now Play This, we invite you to explore the games and experiences showcased at the festival online: Atuel, Artworld Gaiden, Progression/Disgression 1, 1001 nights, Cispenance, Maze Walkthrough, Orchids to dusk, vr 5, Viewfinder , Walking the face of my dead grandfather and Proteus. And, if you haven’t yet, don’t miss the opportunity to play with Murmurations, the generator behind this year’s Now Play This logo which is available to try here.

Camp Now Play This

Also, for extended descriptions of the festival experience you can check some of the lovely press coverage we received, with in-depth reports in The Guardian, The Observer and even international coverage from Argentina by Revista Ñ and Press Over Podcast. You are also welcome to take a virtual tour through a selection of pictures from the festival at our 2024 gallery.

Whether you’re intrigued by one of the games, captivated by a particular event, or simply curious to learn more, drop us a line at hello@nowplaythis.net

Thank you for joining us on this playful journey, and here’s to many more adventures in the world of gaming and play!