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02/15/2006 - GameFest Spokane Gaining Sponsor Support

GameFest Spokane is April 14 and 15, 2006 in the Spokane Convention Center. Organizers are looking for more sponsors and exhibitors who want visibility with computer gamers from beginner to expert. Initial sponsors of the event include VPnet (www.vpnet.edu), ITT Technical Institute (www.itt-tech.edu), Pacific Company Sportswear (www.pacificcompany.net), Gateway/Spokane Public Schools, and the Spokane Area Economic Development Council (EDC, www.spokaneedc.org). The Inlander will be the exclusive print sponsor (www.theinlander.com). More sponsors are needed, according to Robin Toth of the EDC.

In addition to sponsors, GameFest also has technology partners which include Mean Hamster Software (www.meanhamstersoftware.com), SpokLAN (www.spoklan.net), and Seattle’s Olympus Entertainment (www.gmod.com). Mean Hamster develops games for hand held devices, SpokLAN is this area’s premier LAN party guru, and Olympus Entertainment’s GMOD “empower gamers with the ability to customize, personalize, and enhance computer games.”

Olympus Entertainment’s research and development facility is located in Spokane’s Browne’s Addition – at the western tip of the Terabyte Triangle. It is at this facility that Olympus is developing the GMOD tool which allows gamers to download and install the best game upgrades for the most popular games on the market. Modifications are available from their Web site, www.gmod.com, for Doom 3, Half-Life 2, and FarCry. Product features will include one-click play, interactive rating system, flash interface, and easy downloads. Olympus plans to offer discount coupons for game downloads at GameFest.

GameFest Spokane’s scheduled speakers include: Keynote speaker Jason Robar, studio manager for Secret Lair Studios; John Swiderski, Mean Hamster Software; Kristina Erickson, Washington State Film Office; Jen Sward, DigiPen; and Wistar Kay, Washington State International Trade Division.

A recently released report by the Entertainment Software Association states that over 43% of computer and video game players are between the ages of 18 to 49, with an average age of 30. And the majority of gamers expect to still be playing games as much, or more, ten years from now.

Pre-registration is available on the event Web site, www.gamefestspokane.net, with a $5.00 discount for those registering by March 1. Registration after March 1 will be $40.00, with registration available at the event for $45.00.

GameFest Spokane also offers an opportunity for organizations to be part of the event’s career fair. “If your organization is interested in recruiting students and/or employees in the technical world, this is the place to be,” according to Toth. Please contact Robin Toth at the Spokane Area EDC at 509 - 742 - 9388 to learn more about how you can be part of GameFest.

GameFest Spokane 2006 is designed and produced by the GameFest Coalition, a group of organizations involved in local technology, education and economic development. Members of the group include:
City of Spokane
Downtown Spokane Partnership
Eastern Washington University
Gonzaga University
Liberty Lake Internet Exchange
Pentad Systems
Spokane Area Economic Development Council
Terabyte Triangle
Velocity Communications
Virtual Possibilities Network (VPnet)
Washington State University
Whitworth College

Billie Moreland
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