From 5th to 15th April, London Games Festival returns to the capital, 50,000 having attended last year. Delivered by Games London (a three-year initiative from Film London and the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment), with its £1.2million funding from the London Enterprise Action Panel this third year of the Festival aims once more to make London the “games capital of the world”. This year, however, the Festival aims to go “even further” than its forty plus events and twenty plus locations of 2017, with “even bigger” the ethos au moment for the gaming community in 2018.

Though a large proportion of the events take place elsewhere in the capital – notably Trafalgar Square and other central areas when it comes to discussions and “summits and forums about the issues and trends” which affect the industry – those in the City of London nonetheless have much to look forward to as well, being especially an extended and family-friendly opportunity to partake in “cosplay parades and game art exhibitions”. With hard work must come an iota of pleasure, after all.

And that’s where the Festival Fringe comes in, too, complementing the main action. Of particular interest to those old enough to drink should be the SNES Gaming Lounge at the Ace Hotel, Shoreditch (Sunday 15th April, 12pm to 4pm). A free event as long as you RSVP online, the SNES Gaming Lounge takes place in the Lobby of the Ace Hotel, a “Super Nintendo Mini hooked up to a HD Projector” with the overarching opportunity to win a £100 bar tab therein by proving one’s gaming skills at “Super Mario Kart, Street Fighter 2 Turbo: Hyper Fighting and F-Zero”. Cheers to that!

 

However, the main City of London event within the London Games Festival is the Games Character Parade on Saturday 14th April. This “one-of-a-kind” parade welcomes “both video games-inspired cosplayers of all experience levels plus official mascots and characters” and begins at 12.30pm in Guildhall Yard. It then travels through pertinent City of London landmarks (St. Paul’s Cathedral, New Change, and Bow Lane) before returning to its point of origin for photo shoots and prizes. The purpose is to share and promote the love of gaming, of course (as well as delighting in a little dress-up). Entry is free, but you must register online beforehand in order to take part. Given the public nature of a parade, it goes without saying that all costumes must adhere to family-friendly decency rules and expectations.

 

If you run short of time getting together a suitable costume, do note that just beforehand (10.30am to 11.30am) there will be a Superhero boxhead (á la Minecraft characters) and mask-making workshop taking place in the Guildhall Art Gallery. Further, if you (or a younger member of your group) have been inspired post-parade, there’ll be another workshop running from 1.45pm to 3.30pm. And for tweens and young adults, the character outfit craft workshop run by “artists Supergirl, aka Samia Tossio, and Iron Man, aka Simon Honey” might be just the ticket.