About the Videogames exhibition

Produced as part of Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt

Opening on Saturday, 8 September 2018

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This exhibition delves into one of the most significant design fields of our time, investigating the work of groundbreaking designers, creative player communities and the critical conversations that define the medium today.

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt explores the medium since the mid-2000s, when major technological advancements, such as increased access to broadband, social media, smart phones and newly available means of making, profoundly changed the way videogames are designed, discussed and played. This change has opened the door to new voices and ideas, allowing the medium to break beyond its perceived boundaries and aspire to new horizons.

Screenshot, Journey ™ © 2012, 2014 Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. Journey is a trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. Developed by Thatgamecompany.

What does it take to make a videogame? Rarely seen design materials from the desks and hard drives of leading designers sit alongside specially commissioned multimedia installations to provide new perspectives and insights into the craftsmanship and inspiration behind a selection of groundbreaking contemporary videogames.

From the cinematic blockbusters of large AAA studios to the modest and often intimate work of independent designers, this section of the exhibition presents an eclectic and diverse range of voices and work from across game design. All are united by their ambitions to break boundaries.

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

As tools to make games have become more available and distribution has broadened, game designers have begun to engage more widely with social and political debates. The second section of the exhibition presents the work and voices of the influential game makers and commentators who are leading critical discussion and debates that challenge not only ideas about videogames and what they should be, but how this relates to society as a whole.

Game screenshot, how do you Do it?, 2014. Freeman, Butler, Kittaka, Coss

Online player communities connected through servers and social platforms create, collaborate and spectate together. From mind-blowing megastructures built in Minecraft to the vast array of fan art that embraces and extends beloved virtual worlds, their work sees them transcend the role of the designer to democratise design on a vast scale. A large scale immersive installation in this section celebrates the dazzling imagination and creative chaos shown by videogame players.

From the online to the offline the playful exhibition finale looks to the rise of a new DIY arcade scene. Handmade arcade cabinets and interactive installations of spectacle and performance provide a punk alternative to the traditional arcade space that playfully reminds us of the social power of videogames.

Arcade Backpack, UCLA Games Lab (Photo by Robin Baumgarten)