REACTOR launches its first Big Games Challenge

Published: 21 March 2017 at 09:30

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New Anglia Ruskin project aims to support the growth of applied gaming sector

REACTOR – a project led by Anglia Ruskin University and co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the growth of an applied gaming sector in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region – has launched its inaugural Big Games Challenge. 

Applied gaming, serious gaming, and gamification refer to the use of common gaming elements, such as point scoring or personal challenges, for purposes other than entertainment. For instance, the use of video games by industry – from health care and education to city development and aerospace – enables users to virtually experience new environments, products or services, perhaps for training, as a sales tool, or as a way of raising awareness of an important issue. 

Ultimately, bringing users closer to experiencing new scenarios increases the chances of positive behavioral changes or advancement in society. The theme for this year’s Challenge has been set for local businesses and developers to create games-based solutions and enhanced user experiences for residents, workers and visitors to local cultural and heritage sites. 

Jan Storgards, REACTOR Project Director said: 

“We are so excited to see our plans to develop the region’s applied gaming sector coming to fruition and what better way could there be to launch the REACTOR project in the region than by asking local businesses and residents to be involved. 

"By sharing their insights into the frustrations or missed opportunities in local cultural and heritage sites the end result of the challenge will not only be to have grown the applied gaming sector locally, but to have improved experiences of local people and visitors to the area too. Inbound tourism was worth £22.2 billion to the UK economy in 2016, and worth £402 million to the greater Cambridge region in 2013 to 2015. 

"With the UK industry forecast to grow at 3.8% through to 2025, developing technology to ensure there are no limits to growth in the sector will be key to regional economic development.”

Successful applicants will benefit from the support of the REACTOR team in making industry connections and accessing developer talent and expertise.  They will also be able to access European funded activities and support to help take initial concepts all the way through to final products. This includes receiving advice from some of the best games makers and sector specialists in the region; small match funded grants; and making use of the REACTOR games production suite and publishing house.

As part of the challenge, the teams will first be invited to attend an introductory seminar on Wednesday, 29 March. There will be a Big Games Pitch on Wednesday, 31 May when the 10 best ideas will be pitched to representatives from the tourism sector, gaming experts, and potential users of the creation, in order to receive feedback on concepts, usability, and implementation. 

All that interested individuals need to do is to consider the different challenges and frustrations that people face – either as visitors to local sites of interest, or as hospitality sector workers or, indeed, as local residents – and suggest what could be done through applied gaming to solve these issues or revolutionise the experiences of these groups. 

The deadline for applying to participate in the challenge is noon on Wednesday, 12 April, and more information about the challenge itself, and the eligibility criteria, can be found at