Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt Exhibition

V&A’s Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt exhibition moves to Dundee

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt ExhibitionVideogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, a V&A exhibition exploring the contemporary world of gaming, looking at how they are designed, how they captivate players, and the social and ethical issues surrounding them, is moving to V&A Dundee later this month.

Dundee is, of course – a city that is one of Britain’s hubs for games creation and, as the sector and the number of games has grown, so, of course, have the number of licensed comics based on hit titles.

The Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition explores the innovative and rapidly changing design field of videogames, and the role that designers, as well as gamers and critics, have played in developing video games over recent decades.

Character sketches, Journey™ ©2012, 2014 Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. Journey is a trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. Developed by Thatgamecompany
Character sketches, Journey™ ©2012, 2014 Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. Journey is a trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. Developed by Thatgamecompany
Character sketch, The Last of Us™ ©2013, 2014 Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. The Last of Us is a trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. Created and developed by Naughty Dog LLC
Character sketch, The Last of Us™ ©2013, 2014 Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. The Last of Us is a trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. Created and developed by Naughty Dog LLC
No Man's Sky - ™© 2016 Hello Games Ltd. Developed by Hello Games Ltd. All rights reserved
No Man’s Sky – ™© 2016 Hello Games Ltd. Developed by Hello Games Ltd. All rights reserved
Winterfell, Westeroscraft - © Minecraft
Winterfell, Westeroscraft – © Minecraft
Splatoon © 2015 Nintendo
Splatoon © 2015 Nintendo

It also looks at how game design has adapted to new technology such as widespread broadband, smartphones and social media which have rapidly changed the gaming scene.

The exhibition earned plenty of coverage when it opened in London last year, including a challenging item in Design Week, that asked “Are video games inherently sexist? Designers and game makers discuss”, interviewing a number of women who worked in the industry – leading with an image of a bikini- clad character from Grand Theft Auto.

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt explores how contemporary designers, players and critics are pushing boundaries in playful and radical new ways. It offers rare glimpses from the creative process of developing games such as The Last of Us to Kentucky Route Zero, including original prototypes, early character designs and notebooks, are on show alongside cultural inspiration from a Magritte painting to a viral cat video.

From blockbuster titles produced by leading studios such as Splatoon from Nintendo, to independents such as Journey by thatgamecompany, the exhibition explores the craft and skill of creating ground-breaking videogame design. These examples are presented alongside large- scale immersive multimedia and interactive installations from Minecraft to League of Legends and investigations of the social and political issues in the field, offering an insight into the design process, community and culture of videogames.

Games designer Jenny Jiao Hsia in her workplace © Jennifer Jiao Hsia
Games designer Jenny Jiao Hsia in her workplace © Jennifer Jiao Hsia and, below – her process breakdown walkthrough

Jenny Jiao Hsia, My Process Breakdown © Jennifer Jiao HsiaJenny Jiao Hsia, My Process Breakdown © Jennifer Jiao Hsia

The exhibition explores videogame design since the mid-2000s, when major technological advancements, such as increased access to broadband, social media and newly available means of making, transformed the way games are designed, discussed and played.

With at least 2.2 billion players worldwide, the reach and range of gaming is examined within creative online player communities who modify games and create fan art; spectators and competitive performers at large scale esports stadium events and surprising spaces of the niche DIY arcade scene. Videogames: Design/ Play/ Disrupt builds on the V&A’s activity as a space for contemporary debate, which actively collects, displays and programmes digital design.

Speaking when the exhibition, which ran at V&A London until earlier this month first opened Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, said: “There is a rich universality to videogames in contemporary culture. This is the right time for the V&A to be building on our active interest in videogames to investigate this exciting and varied design field at the intersection between technology, engineering and broader visual culture, presenting the influences, inspiration and debates that define it.

“There is a wealth of creativity to explore, from the craft of the studios to the innovation of the audience as players. This exhibition provides a compelling insight into one of the most important design disciplines of our time.”

• Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt will move to the V&A Dundee from 20th April to 8th September 2019. More information about the London exhibition here | V&A Dundee, 1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee DD1 4EZ – Daily: 10.00 – 17.00 | Web: www.vam.ac.uk/dundee

Digital Dundee – Dundee-based Games Companies

Read the Design Week feature “Are video games inherently sexist? Designers and game makers discuss”

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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