Event Safety with nDreams' Game On

We're committed to making sure our events are welcoming, accessible and most importantly safe for our attendees. This is why this year we are excited to be collaborating with the wonderful team at nDreams and incorporate their GAME ON Event Safety initiative at the upcoming Guildford.Games Festival and future G.G events.

But what exactly is GAME ON? We chat to nDreams' Internal Communications Associate Sarah Hammond who's spearheading the initiative.

Hey Sarah, tell us more about GAME ON - what is it exactly?

GAME ON is our commitment to helping our industry do more to support people at gaming events. 

We realised that there was this grey area of what a company’s duty of care is when employees were at external industry events. This ambiguity, along with stressful scenarios, can lead to people feeling unsupported and not reporting incidents.

We want to empower not only nDreamers, but gaming enthusiasts from all over to ask for that clarity on what companies and events organisers are doing to keep people safe and accountable at events, so they have the knowledge they need should something happen.

What prompted you to launch the initiative?

Across social media platforms, people began to speak up on their personal experiences at worldwide industry events. Whilst it was great to see that people felt strong enough to come forward and share, we were worried about how many people this had affected, who hadn’t come forward.

We brought this discussion to Athena, our employee resource group for marginalised genders. It was a thought-provoking experience, where people shared their own experiences of harassment and abuse. We couldn’t leave that room without making a promise to those affected that we would do more to ensure their safety when attending events that had nDreams attendance in an official capacity.

How will GAME ON make the G.G Festival even better for our attendees?

We provide a considered set of guidelines and frameworks for event safety, incorporating input from specialist groups, organisations, and individuals. By collaborating with the wonderful team at G.G, we can bring more guidance and information to attendees, educate on unacceptable behaviours, keep our gaming community safe, and remove toxicity within our industry. 

Thank you so much for telling us all about GAME ON, we're excited to be working with you and the wonderful team at nDreams to ensure G.G events are safe and enjoyable for all!

nDreams are also kindly sponsoring the G.G Festival and have been a great supporter of our events in the past. Why did you choose to sponsor the Guildford.Games Festival? What aspects of the festival resonate with your company's values and goals?

So much of what Guildford Games does aligns with our nDreams Academy initiatives. We want to help people understand what different journeys there are into the game industry, and break down barriers to get them to their first job.

By offering portfolio reviews, and creating free opportunities for people to chat with developers we are able to bridge the gaps! We are on a mission to make the games industry more accessible and Guildford Games shares that mission whilst providing a fantastic platform for us to work towards that.  

From your perspective, what unique opportunities does the festival provide for fostering connections between gaming enthusiasts, developers, and industry leaders?

The festival provides such an incredibly unique opportunity for people to talk directly to developers, receive feedback and play upcoming games, all for free! So many of the big events can have financial barriers, and by removing those barriers we are inviting more people to join in. By taking place outside of London and not in a giant, never-ending expo hall, it’s an amazing way for people who are new to these type of events to dip their toes in without getting overwhelmed by the amount of stuff going on.  

Could you share a memorable moment or experience from a previous Guildford.Games Festival/Dev Drinks/Awards that highlights its significance to your and/or within the gaming community?

Each event that Guildford.Games runs has its own favourite memory! My number one however will be when nDreams won both the Creative and Education awards in 2022.

The nDreams festival that won the Creative Award was my first big event that I organised with an amazing team, and getting to celebrate with them all that night was unbelievably special.

Having opportunities and nights like that are so important to people, and G.G have done a fantastic job with celebrating all aspects of game development.

We remember those awards very fondly, too! Incredibly well-deserved wins all around <3

And whilst we have you here, let's talk GAMES! We can't help but ask everyone this so...

What was the first video game you remember playing, and how did it influence your love for gaming?

Christmas Day when I was young, I opened up a gift from my parents – a pink Gameboy advance! I loved this Gameboy (I still have it, and it still works!) and the first game I played on it was Bratz Rock Angelz. I literally played it until the cartridge broke, I loved it that much. Being introduced to gaming in this way, as a pink obsessed ‘girly girl’ was amazing, as I didn’t have to experience those who saw gaming as being for just the boys. It was a way to enjoy long car rides, and as a neurodiverse kid who didn’t know any better, it was a way to calm myself in overwhelming situations. So from day one, gaming has been a calming escape for me, and it’s why I love it so much.  

What's your go-to video game for winding down after a long day? 

I love to jump from game to game and have several on the go! But I will usually go for a cozy farming sim game – Stardew Valley, Wylde Flowers, My Time in Portia/Sandrock… there are a lot of cozy farming sims and I don’t think I’ve found one that I haven’t loved. Theres something soothing about following a routine and talking to townsfolk!

What's your favourite gaming memory from your childhood? 

When I was in secondary school, a friend and I would wake up super early on the weekend before anyone was awake and we would skype whilst I played Fable 3 and she played Fable 1. I will always treasure those times as we talked each other through what was happening in our games and try not to wake up our parents by laughing too loud! The Fable series has a huge place in my heart, for helping a lonely teenager make friends with her peers.

Thank you for chatting to us, Sarah! We're excited to welcome you back and the nDreamers (cool band name!) to the Festival & thank you for all your support with GAME ON and all other crazy plans we have going on!