Backspace Festival


UPDATE: Backspace 2.0 was officially launched in June 2014 with the announcement of a County-wide schools’ game design competition. A new website went live at the same time and more details on the 2014 festival can be found at: More details on the schools game design competition can also be found here.

The inaugural award-winning Backspace Festival ran from May 18th to June 2nd 2013 and was designed to celebrate and showcase the Leamington Spa video game development scene.

Centred on an exhibition telling the story of the sector’s rise over three decades, the festival also included a varied programme of eleven separate events and fund-raising activities that highlighted the town’s work in the sector and increased recognition of its creativity, innovation and career potential.

Natalie was invited to be the project’s Event Director and she played a key role in the planning, conception and execution of all elements of the festival. She was responsible for the introduction of most of the supporting events, drove the charity fund-raising activities, established and co-ran the active social media feeds, and secured high-profile trade and local press coverage throughout.

She was also one of the main writers and creators of the Exhibition content itself, liaising with all the local developers to secure, document and display a range of engaging and informative archive material and interactive displays.

Backspace was conceived and staged in a nine week window by a core team of just three people yet the event was a resounding success, well exceeding estimated visitor numbers and receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from the local games industry, supporters, attendees and volunteers.

Read the full case study here.



Fresh Awards 2013
Freshest Experiential Campaign or Event Gold Award WINNER
Freshest Community Relations RUNNER-UP

Chartered Institute of PR Pride Awards 2013
Best Event RUNNER-UP

UK Event Awards
Best Cultural Event of the Year RUNNER-UP
Best Festival of the Year RUNNER-UP
Best Exhibition of the Year RUNNER-UP



“Without Nat I would still be bouncing around Leamington trying to make Backspace happen. Her ability to practically apply her drive, enthusiasm and passion for the games industry was key in creating a festival that the town could be proud of. It didn’t hurt that she’s incredibly well-connected either.”
Craig Spivey, Executive Creative Director, Vital Marketing & originator of Backspace

“Just wanted to say thanks for inviting us to take part in Backspace. I know you were super busy in the run-up, but it definitely paid off. I think the exhibition looks great!”
Chris Southall, Studio Head, SEGA Hardlight

“The Backspace festival and exhibition has captured the story and the creativity in the town brilliantly and we’re thrilled and humbled to have been involved.”
Philip Oliver, CEO & Co-founder, Blitz Games Studios

“Congratulations on an amazing preview evening… the show looked fantastic!”
Dave Fullick, co-founder, Monster & Monster

“Thank you for inviting us down to demo at Backspace. The exhibition looked great and we were really pleased to have been able to be a part of it!”
Bill Donegan, SpecialEffect, Backspace official charity

“Just finished interviewing games dev veterans Philip Oliver and David Darling on stage at Backspace. Top fun and a wicked exhibition!”
Will Freeman, Editor, Develop Magaine/Observer games correspondent, via Twitter

“Just wanted to say thanks for you and your colleagues’ efforts with Backspace. It was a great event as a whole and both I and my students got a lot out of it, really helped them ‘connect’ with the industry in the area and also gave them a sense of the heritage they hope to become a part of. I know it must have been a monster amount of work for you but I think it was definitely worth it!”
Andrew Brazier, Games Art Course Leader, Warwickshire College, host of Backspace Careers Evening.

Press highlights:

Eurogamer, 22nd April 2013

Pocketgamer, 22nd April 2013

Guardian Games Blog, 23rd April 2013

Develop, 23rd April 2013

Birmingham Free Radio, 26th April 2013

BBC Midlands Today, 17th May 2013

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, 17th May 2013