I spent a game week-end : atmosphere and trends

La_Priere_by_Kia2What can gather people from 1 month to 99 years old in Cannes during 3 days ? The International Festival of Games [1]. Three days of free exhibition of games, with all major editors presenting their mainstream products but also prototypes.

Games ? Which ones ! Any type. Familly game, team game, card game, puzzle, dexterity game, kid games, mini billards, mega bar football, baby game, medieval game, game to loose your best friend, ace game… The impressive number of games is not the only amazing thing. The other one is that all editors and associations are here to make you play. You want to test the last version of the Werewolves game ? Come and seat with strangers and a kind presenter will organize a game with you. For free.

No pressure. What was also extraordinary during this event was that everyone entering the Palais des Festivals was ready to play. People on the booths are smiling, people around tables are having fun. When you bump someone in the crowd made of families, teenagers, grand parents, there is always a kind words, to transform the incident into a joke… You know, the special ambiance of ‘no pressure’…

All equal. Far from the usual game catalogs with blue for boys, pink for girls and maroon for the grand parents, here the mixing of population was incredible. Teenagers playing scrabble, father fighting with knight costume, grand parents yelling to win, the only stereotype that noone dared to hijack was the japanes-like school girl in the manga avenue.

Scrabble will never dye. Each of us has already played with the traditional family games (le jeu des milles bornes, monopoly, Uno, ..). Even on the side of the video game there were some conservatism. The association Replay [2], gathering activists of retrogaming, is  promoting the preservation of first video games and gave a chance to the youngest to play on commodore and enjoy pacman. I will not comment on the never dying traditional games. But I felt new things in the avenues of this exhibition.

Collaborative. Game is not anymore only about humiliating your friends during a game, late at night. This is now also about collaboration. A table may be a single team and all of us have to reach a common goal, all alive. An interesting game among them was Tokaïdo by FunForge [3].

Crowdfunding. While walking randomly I saw the ulule.com stand and its crowd funded games. Ulule is crowd funding platform that “make good thing happen” which has a section dedicated to game http://www.ulule.com/#!tags/games/ and the booth present in Cannes was really appealing (Coup d’un soir, Inside, cHTeMeLe the game to learn HTML5 coding).

Tablet and accessibility. Surprisingly, the trend was really to have real objects for game. It seems that the web games did not yet find a way to be represented in this kind of exhibition.Tray, cards, figurine, gamepad but few device-only based game. Nevertheless digital games were represented by the booth of some students, who demonstrated some family games fitting on an android tablet, the android tablet being the tray of the game. It was one of the scarce booth where disability (here sand blind) was taken into account.

Palmares. In the end. Some games were awarded by a jury. So called the As d’Or (Ace of Gold). It is available in french only under official press release and there might be at least one game tailored for you.

– ANDOR (Iello)
– CARDLINE ANIMAUX (Asmodee / Bombyx)
– CROC ! (Bombyx)
– INDIGO (Ravensburger)
– MERLIN ZINZIN (Fragames / Blackrock Editions)
– MITO (Gigamic)
– MYRMES (Ystari Games)
– SEASONS (Libellud)
– STRIKE (Ravensburger)
– TINO TOPINI (Ravensburger)
– STAR WARS : X-WINGS, le jeu de figurines (Edge)
– ZOMBICIDE (Edge / Guillotine Games)

I could also describe you the very special floor where challenges are happening, figurine warhammers confrontation, aside role playing games tournament closed to bridge tables. A special ambiance believe me. But the easiest for you to understand that special atmosphere would be to book now your tickets for next year festival. We may meet there !

[1] Festival International des Jeux – http://www.festivaldesjeux-cannes.com/2.aspx

[2] Association replay www.associationreplay.fr/

[3] Tokaïdo http://www.funforge.fr/FR/news-des-jeux/tokaido-les-regles/

To go further for french people, several websites allowing to explore games : http://www.trictrac.fr/ or http://www.jeuxdenim.be/

Picture : La Prière by Ki² http://www.flickr.com/photos/ki-carre/

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