If you happened to be in London and see two, weird, huge white pods looming in Trafalgar Square then what you saw was the second event in the London Games Festival just simply titled: Trafalgar Square Games Festival. London Games Festival took over the square on the 7th of April for a one-day special event. The event was free to attend and featured three different areas; the Rocket League pod, the AR Zone and the Actual Reality Arcade. Compared to the other events in the LGF schedule, the Trafalgar Square Games Fest was more aimed at family, kids, and passers-by who wanted to get in on the gaming fun.
In the first pod, the Rocket League tournament was happening in full swing, visitors could play Rocket League on several available computer set-ups and could also take part in mini-tournaments. The winners of these tournaments won the opportunity to meet and play with two esports Rocket League pros. These two professionals, Garrett and Fireburner, were visiting London from the USA. I’m not super into Rocket League but the festival had set up a big screen inside the pod to watch the matches on so anyone, myself included, could get involved and watch the matches on the screen. There were several computer set-ups (with some nice hardware) around the edge of the space where visitors could play matches with each other. I went there pretty early in the day so it was quiet when I arrived but from their Twitter, it seemed to get busy towards the afternoon, with the tournaments drawing a good sized crowd.
The other smaller pod showcased the Augmented Reality Zone that featured four augmented reality based games for iPhone and iPad. All four games were made by London and UK based game developers and had the creators alongside their game who were all friendly and available to chat to. The games were; ARise made by Climax Studios, Orbu made by Dream Reality Interactive, Pigeon Panic! made by Combo Studio and Smash Tanks! made by Dumpling Design. The game that was drawing the most attention was Pigeon Panic!, a pigeon scaring simulator which involved small children running all over the pod trying to chase away AR pigeons. Apart from playing with the AR app on the 3DS, there isn’t much of an opportunity to play games based around augmented reality and, from feeling the vibe of the atmosphere, many visitors had fun seeing the interesting potential of AR games.
Outside the pods around the edge of the square was where the Actual Reality Arcade activities were set up. These activities were compiled of ‘live games’ inspired by iconic retro arcade classics which had visitors take part in physical versions of Tetris, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and Whack-A-Mole. The Pac-Maze involved kids dressing up as the iconic ghosts and (preferably an adult) would put on a Pac-Man head and chase them through a physical maze and the Tetris set up had visitors fitting together giant foam shaped Tetris blocks.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Trafalgar Square without the creepy Pikachu who, surprisingly, wasn’t there for the games festival but is a regular occupant of Trafalgar Square and for once fitted in perfectly with the historic square. Overall, The Trafalgar Square Games Fest was fun and entertaining and it was nice to see a festival event that wasn’t in a gallery or conference room but free and open to the public. Make sure you check out what else is going on for London Games Festival on their website and Twitter.
Be sure to check out the rest of our London Games Festival coverage including our impressions of this years EGX Rezzed!
|London Games Festival 2018|
|Now Play This: Experimental Game Design Exhibit|
|LGF HUB 2018 and Ensemble Exhibition|
|EGX Rezzed 2018 Event Coverage|
|KeenGamer's Top Pick from Rezzed 2018|