The Akron Art Museum is ready to bring on some fun.

Beginning Saturday, Nov. 14, the museum will host a weeklong, virtual celebration of games and visual arts dubbed GameFest, according to a news release.

The idea of the event — which had an inaugural live version called ‘Open World Arcade’ last year as part of the museum’s “Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art” exhibit — is to put the spotlight on game design. This year is going virtual because of the pandemic.

GameFest will feature eight games designed by independent game developers — both newbies and professionals, the release stated. Games will be accessible for free around the clock, from Nov. 14 through Nov. 20, through a virtual, interactive space designed by the students and faculty at Kent State University, organizers said.

The game are: “Codemancer,” “Gunsheath,” “Astro Parcel Service,” “Operation UNDEAD,” “Woebegone Woods,” “Gamer Girl,” “Berrymandering” and “Obelisk.” Those who want to check them out can access them through the art museum’s website.

“We’re happy to once again bring the work of independent game makers to the Akron Art Museum,” said Chris Totten, an assistant professor in Kent State’s Modeling, Animation and Game Creation program and one of GameFest’s organizers, in a statement. “While we can’t be together, we see enormous opportunity in popular and innovative online platforms to bring the community together. AAM’s work continues to highlight the artistic potential of games and interactive media.”

In addition to the free online game portal, GameFest will feature online events held each day of the week that will more closely examine the featured games and offer some fun activities. Events are free for museum members and $5 for nonmembers. Events include a virtual happy hour, a session to meet the game designers, a family game night and more. A full schedule can be found here.

“It was so exciting to see the positive response last year from our in-person ‘Open World Arcade,’ so we knew we wanted to bring this kind of event to the community again,” said Reggie Lynch, the museum’s curator of community engagement, in a statement. “Last year was incredibly intergenerational and allowed grandparents to celebrate games and artists along with their grandchildren. This year, we hope this event can spark similar experiences with those who participate, bringing people together through the art of gaming.”

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