Guildford.Games Bringing Playable History To Guilfest 2024

Written by Hugh Wybourne

Guildford - aka ‘The Hollywood of Video Games’, or at least so says several publications over the last few years when describing our humble little hometown! Indeed, some of the most talented and influential creators, developers, and teams have been producing industry-defining games for decades now - and continue to do so today. Legendary game designer Hideo Kojima may have found the atmosphere perhaps a tad too tranquil for his personal taste, but the proof is in the product: Guildford is the home of quality gaming content!

Our little Surrey Town has  housed dozens of award winning studios - with many becoming household names - over the years, and features over 20 award-winning teams quietly working on your next favourite game. That’s of course not even including the various remote teams, solo-developers, and inspirational students working within and around the town. Decades after Peter Molyneux’s pivotal decision to found a game studio in the back of an electronics shop, we uphold a level of standard that still receives recognition from around the world. 

Despite this reputation, most local residents are likely unaware of how much award winning, ground breaking, game making history on their doorsteps… so, we decided to pitch ourselves a place at Guilfest, a huge community event that returned after a leave of a decade, to catch the attention of families and festival-goers alike, with an aim to introduce them Guildford.Games and what we’re all about!

Now, we admit setting up a handful of older, heat emitting, video game consoles in a mostly-sealed tent on a 30-degree day was perhaps a bold choice, but thanks to the fantastic work of JoyPad Arcade everything was set up and ready to go by 11am on Saturday, ready for the people of Guildford to get hands on with some key titles from the our game making history!

We made sure to showcase a timeline of Guildford studio’s hits; from our older classics like Fable, LittleBigPlanet 2, Burnout: Paradise, and a personal favourite of mine: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Most of the visitors we had during the day were families with young children and whilst the younger attendees hadn’t heard of many of these older games, several of the parents remembered these games fondly and got to show the next generation what gaming was like for them - we watched many a wizard duel and drag race get surprisingly heated throughout the day!

There were of course also some more recent titles on show that the teen crowd and above  enjoyed seeing. Namely, No Man’s Sky, Two-Point Hospital, and Baldur’s Gate 3. The former resonated with our visitors, as they whistled away a quick hour exploring alien worlds and discovering landscapes and species, a perfect demonstration of the vision of the team over at Hello Games. 

Two-Point was also a great addition for players, settling into its comfy atmosphere for longer play sessions, though we feel for the digital patients that had to wait until the late afternoon before somebody thought to finally construct a bathroom! 

Lastly, Baldur’s Gate of course caught the attention of many passers-by as they used the one-off opportunity to play a lot more recklessly than they might have at home - worry not though, dear Astaarion was of course present and safe the whole time. We continue to stan, as a side note.

All of this and more was taking place over the full weekend at Guilfest, from dawn til dusk each day, and it couldn’t have happened without the generous volunteers that came forward from various studios within our community! We had devs join us from Glowmade, Supermassive Games, Two Point Studios, Liquid Crimson, Historic VR, and of course yours-truly from G.G itself! It really couldn’t have been possible to man all of this without our amazing volunteers, and its events like this that really highlight what it is we do here. Give them a round of applause!

Professional industries like ours can be quite opaque to the average person, even the average gamer, so we hope that every festival goer  that came to see us at Guilfest  this weekend came away feeling a little prouder about this place that connects us all. Hopefully when G.G Fest rolls around next year we’ll have inspired even more people to come and see all the other great things we have to offer… and hopefully join the industry one day too!

There are so many fantastic people in the Games Industry and we’re extremely lucky that so many of them are in our Guildford hub! This weekend was a testament to the fact that we do great things when we all work together! We’d like to give one last extra special thanks to our volunteers that took time out of their weekend to boil under the sun for the greater good. Next year we promise a bounty of ice cream to ease the sweltering tent heat!