In 2014, hóPLAY, the international independent videogames festival held in Bilbao, Spain marks its five year anniversary. During this time, the festival has become a reference point in the videogame indie sector in Spain and Southern Europe.
Since 2010, hóPLAY has received over 350 videogames from all over the world and awarded over €150,000 in prizes.
Over 34,000 people visited the first four hóPLAY events, and the 2014 edition promises to be one of the most popular. Over 600 people are already registered for the courses and workshops.
Pocket Gamer is collaborating with hóPLAY 2014 to hold a Big Indie Pitch, offering prizes valued at $8,500. In addition Google Cloud Platform is sponsoring the event and is offering a $100,000 prize in credit to one of the startups attending hóPLAY and meeting certain requirements.
Since its beginning, the festival's emphasis has been on the most creative aspects of videogame creation. hóPLAY has exhibited the alternatives that independent game developers offer gamers, proving there's a videogame for everyone of any gender or age.
The festival programme has always switched between videogame as a business and videogame as an art. Exploring the frontiers of a genre and innovation from a creative position are attitudes present in many independent developers. On occasion, these are attitudes which generate disruptive products altering the business status quo.
Marvelous productions, mesmerizing and surprising videogames have all passed through hóPLAY, delighting any player who is open to surprise.
Examples from hóPLAY 2010 include winners such as The Path by Tale of Tales, iBasket by Ideateca or Los delirios de Von Sottendorff y su mente cuadriculada by Delirium Studios.
In 2011, we saw bright ideas such as It's just a thought by Yellow Monkey Studios, Mr Mistu by We Choose Fun and Avatar Bump by Milkstone Studios.
In 2012, hóPLAY attendees were lucky enough to test games like Barabariball by Strange Flavor, Zack Zero by Crocodrile Entertainment, the marvelous Dear Esther by The Chinese Room, Social Battle by Interactive Martin and Nitronic Rush by Team Nitronic.
2013 winners were Shiny the firefly by Stage Clear Studio, Maldita Castilla by Locomalito, Gods Will Be Watching by Deconstructeam, Nihilumbra by Beautifungames and Umbra Chronicles by Red Monkeys.
The 2014 edition
This year the level is higher than ever, and the quality of the videogame finalists is excellent. It has been extremely difficult for the jury to select the 32 projects eligible for the different prizes.
Just a glance at the finalists enables you to see the wide range of aesthetics and trends in which the world of the independent videogame lives. Projects exploring the relationship of the videogame with films, music, urban space, retro-aesthetics, the 'prosumer' concept, traditional graphics, cybernetic environments, etc.
The selection of finalist projects will be on display at hóPLAY from 27th November to 3rd December at AlhondigaBilbao, the central Bilbao building redesigned by Phillipe Starck.
On 27th and 28th November the developers responsible for each project will explain their creative process to the public attending and the jury.
On 28th November, after the Big Indie Pitch, the hóPLAY 2014 prizes will be awarded.
On Saturday 29th November an intensive videogame workshop will be delivered by the acclaimed prizewinning Delirium Studios and WiMi5, the new platform to create, publish and monetize HTML5 videogames.
On 2nd and 3rd December, there will be talks, workshops and roundtables on diverse topics like "Sex, gender and videogames", workshops with Oculus, on 3D modelling, a presentation of the famous surfer Kepa Acero's videogame or a presentation of new local associations of developers like Pintxo Developers or 4DEVgames. All the information and programme can be found on the web of the festival.
Tickets for hóPLAY are free. You can book them via its web page.