May 24th, 2019
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The Idea (1994)
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07/15/2005 - GameFest – The Next Big Visitor Attraction?

The Tourism Promotion area of the Convention and Visitors Bureau has award $10,000 as seed money for GameFest 2006. These funds will be used to design and produce the marketing packages for the sponsors and advertisers, attendee packets, and invitations.

What? You’ve not heard of GameFest 2006? That’s because, like a snowball, it began as a crystal of an idea over a year ago, and the snowball is just beginning to reach “snowman” size. GameFest is credited by its originating idea man, Nigel Davey, as having grown out of the Terabyte Triangle board. Davey was mulling over ideas to promote downtown Spokane, the SpokaneHotZone, and to promote economic development in general. Borrowing from the very successful HoopFest, Davey thought it quite natural to invite people to come to Spokane to play massive multiplayer on-line games (MMOG) in the SpokaneHotZone.

The idea lay dormant until Davey, as a member of the Terabyte Triangle board, brought the idea to a meeting. Fellow board member Norm Leatha, Gonzaga University Hogan Program Assistant Director, and director of the New Ventures Lab, liked the idea and took it a step further. He suggested using Hogan business plan winners GamerZunion, (now a startup business in Spokane) to supply the MMOG portal. Then he recruited Hogan students to write the business plan for the event. Unfortunately, GU closed before the plan was written, and the project went on hold.

Delayed but not forgotten, other Terabyte Triangle board members also joined in nurturing the idea. Steve Trabun, president of VPnet began to visualize how GameFest could use VPnet for satellite game areas. Kim Pearman-Gillman, Senior Vice President at Avista Development, came forward with economic development ideas. Bill Kalivas envisioned a Connect Northwest connection, and Robin Toth, Director, Funding and Community Projects, Spokane Area Economic Development Council went to work to acquire the $10,000 Convention and Visitors Bureau grant.

Much work is still needed to get GameFest from planning to reality. “If we had two hundred players the first year, it would be a huge success,” says Davey. “Who know what it could grow into?”

Billie Moreland
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