Viva Brighton Issue #84 February 2020




#84 FEB 2020




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In a city that’s famous for its digital industries

and game studios, I still prefer to pass the time

on a decidedly low-tech Backgammon board. So

I expected to feel properly behind the times as we

began looking into the local games scene for this

month’s issue.

As expected, we found a thriving game development

community that’s drawing on a deep well of diverse

talents. People like the Global Game Jammers

who gather each year for an ‘all play’ weekend of

worldwide games creation; illustrator and concept

artist Dan Lish who adds vivid colour to imaginary

landscapes; and actor Elsie Lovelock who gives

characters their voice.

But we also discovered a whole world of analogue

gaming, and not just in the dusty corners of pubs.

Places like the Dice Saloon, where hundreds of

people meet each week to gather around board

games and disappear into role-playing realms; and

a growing number of immersive Escape Rooms. We

met game-maker (cartoonist, and punk rocker) Paul

Stapleton, who turned Brighton life into a series of

BN1-inspired board games; and Hazel Reynolds,

whose ruse to pry her sister away from her iPad grew

into a business that’s sold upwards of 100,000 card

games, and counting.

Of course, all this code-cracking, strategising and

imaginative play can be put to brilliant use in the real

world too. Just ask the founders of Block Builders,

who use Minecraft to involve kids in designing the

cities of the future – and the urban planners are

listening. In this town, playing is serious business.

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