Published: 00:02, 14 February 2018
GEEK (Games Expo East Kent) attracts thousands of dedicated gaming enthusiasts, families on half term, and those wanting to indulge their nostalgia for the consoles of their childhood.
This year the three-day festival will be bigger than ever as it showcases technology, creativity and fun.
It will have a space theme to mark the 40th anniversary of Space Invaders - one of the forerunners of modern gaming.
Held at Dreamland in Margate, it will also mark the 10th anniversary of the release of Super Smash Brothers Brawl on the Nintendo Wii with a grand franchise tournament.
A day dedicated to Minecraft will see a cave for build battles and the Jedi Fight Academy will show budding Jedis light saber skills, including those taught by actor Andrew Lawden, who starred in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
Jon Campling, King Regis in Final Fantasy, Death Eater in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Gazskull Thrakka in Warhammer40k, will be signing autographs and taking photos.
He will also be taking a seat as a guest judge for the popular Cosplay Masquerade, which returns where visitors can put their gaming skills to the test in tournaments of Street Fighter V, Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, Halo 4 and more.
The family-friendly event presents a behind-the-scenes look at gaming and featured games will include old favourites spanning generations to virtual reality experiences. There will be a full programme of workshops and talks, and throughout February educational activities with local schools and community groups.
Gamers can also experiment with Makey Makey and test out Tilt Brush with Google Artist in Residence, Chu.
Senior creative producer at Dreamland, Rebecca Ellis, said: "GEEK is beyond a festival of games - it reveals all of the facets of games making and playing in a social environment. Dreamland is a natural home for a festival of play and games - people have been coming to the park for years in this way."
Festival co-founder, Kate Kneale, added: "The team is really excited about the content we have lined up. Play and games are powerful forces for good. GEEK’s objective is to encourage people to come along and have fun and to explore the creative aspects of gaming. This year promises to have more going on than ever before."
Know your bits from your bots? If your ping isn't peng, here's a little guide to some of the games being celebrated and played at GEEK:
The arcade video game was released in 1978 and was one of the earliest shooting games. The aim was to defeat waves of aliens with a laser cannon to earn as many points as possible. In designing the game, Tomohiro Nishikado drew inspiration from The War of the Worlds, and Star Wars. It may seem basic by today's standards, but without it the industry might not have looked the same - it helped expand the video game industry from a novelty to a global industry.
You have to love squares (though not be one) to love Minecraft. If you've got kids, they'll probably know more about the game than you - it's a sandbox video game created and designed by Swedish game designer Markus "Notch" Persson. It's all about building, allowing players to build with a variety of different cubes in a 3D world. Gamers can play alone or there are multiple gameplay modes.
SUPER SMASH BROTHERS
A series of crossover fighting games published by Nintendo. The original was published in 1994 and was originally a Japan-only release, but led to a worldwide release. The third instalment, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, was released for the Wii.
An electronic invention tool and toy that allows users to connect everyday objects to computer programs.It can work with any computer programme or webpage.
GEEK will be at Dreamland in Margate from Friday, February 16 to Sunday, February 18. Under fives go free. For tickets visit bit.ly/GEEK2018.
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