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Fun&Serious Game Festival, the Oscars of Gaming

Every established, successful industry holds at least one awards ceremony a year, attended by enthusiasts, professionals, journalists, and the curious.The Movie industry has the Oscars, Music has the Grammy’s, and fashion has Milan Fashion Week, a trendsetting showcases for the rest of the world where the most prestigious filmmakers, musicians and designers come together.

Fun & Serious Game Festival

The world of video games has the Fun & Serious Game Festival, an event that launched in 2011 and has been bringing some of the world’s best developers, artists, entrepreneurs, and producers to Spain ever since. Held in Bilbao, Fun & Serious divides its activities between the Guggenheim Museum, The Euskalduna Conference Center, the Alhóndiga Bilbao, and the Campos Elíseos Theater.

The fourth edition of the event will be held this November and will award the best fun gamesacross a range of categories,as well as the standout serious games from around the world in 2014. Many will wonder — what is a “serious game”? The industry defines serious games as those used in industries such as medicine, education, aeronautics, and culture.

But Fun & Serious is more than just a simple event. Conferences, activities, esports, speeches, entrepreneurship, networking, movies, and video games, and even YouTube celebrities will all be part of this festival that is growing in international prominence.

Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts, has already been confirmed on the list of speakers

Last year’s event was attended by none other than Ian Livingstone, former President of Eidos and a key figure in the creation of titles such as Tomb Raider and Hitman. Tommy Palm, creator of Candy Crush Saga, and the developers of Rayman Legends and Assassin’s Creed also attended to talk about the creative process behind the video games.

 This year is no less impressive. Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts, has already been confirmed on the list of speakers, along with Peter Molyneux, probably one of the most experienced figures in the video game industry and creator of series such as Fable. Here is a sneak peek:


New studios and entrepreneurial projects

Indie studios will also play a leading role, and Fun & Serious will be attended by Spanish developers such as Tequila Works. Funding problems and monetization models will be among the topics covered in this workshop where Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare and founder of series such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age, will talk about the keys to success and the importance of entrepreneurial leadership.

Smartphones and gamification will also be covered. In recent years, the rise of mobile devices in the video game sector has led to the democratization of gaming,drawing in a wider public and bringing about the birth of new companies with innovative ideas.

This edition of Fun & Serious will therefore include a conference focused exclusively on the mobile market and apps, where a range of industry players will discuss new possibilities and trends. The former Vice-President of Rovio, developer of Angry Birds, will play an important role in driving networking and analyzing success stories.

And speaking of phenomenal successes, we should also mention that the festival has already announced the first nominees for Best Video Game of the Year. Previous winners are Uncharted 3, Halo 4, and Grand Theft Auto V. This time, games such as Destiny, Evolve, Bayonetta 2, and Valiant Hearts are in the running.

Fun & Serious is clearly an international event that is not to be missed, especially for all fans of video games and gaming culture, whether casual players, entrepreneurs, esports professionals, or those just curious about this world. Thegaming industry’s best international developers, artists, and personalities meet once a year in Bilbao, making this an unmissable event. What do you think is the best video game of the year?

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