The WEEK long festival Games Britannia festival takes place from July 2-8 at the MAGNA Science Adventure Centre.
Although primarily aimed at pupils from schools in Rotherham and Sheffield, organisers say places may also be available to schools elsewhere in the region and further afield.
In the lead up to the event, teams of school children from across the region will compete to write, illustrate and compose ideas for a new video game based on one of the games industry’s most iconic characters - Monty Mole.
Organisers hope that shortlisted games will be turned into playable versions as part of a “Gremlin Game Jam” during the festival.
Ian Stewart, founder of the Sheffield-based game developer Gremlin Graphics and creator of the Monty Mole character, said: “It’s fantastic to see an initiative to rekindle the passion for programming at a young age.
“Many of my first employees learnt to program video games on the computers they were first exposed to at school, and those skills helped to build the multi-billion dollar games industry we have today.”
Five of the seven days of the Games Britannia festival will be exclusively for pupils and teachers and will include a series of talks, workshops and opportunities to develop games using software tool kits.
The tool kits will range from systems aimed at young children, which lets them create a video game using a series of building blocks, made up of pre-written code, to high end PlayStation developers’ kits - the first time a class of school children have ever been given an introduction to professional game development kits.
Games Britannia’s doors will open to the public at the weekend for Games Britannia: Replayed, showcasing Britain’s games design heritage, which includes the development of the Lara Croft, Grand Theft Auto, Total War and Lego games franchises.
Games Britannia: Replayed will also highlight the careers opportunities in the industry, its size and potential and give parents an insight into how they can ensure their children are playing games appropriate to their age.
Games Britannia, incorporating Games Britannia: Replayed, is being organised by a partnership that includes Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Sheffield Hallam University, Brinsworth Comprehensive School Academy Trust, Replay Events and UK Interactive Entertainment, and is backed by industry companies including Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Sumo-Digital and YoYo Games.