Game Masters – The Exhibition
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) as part of its Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series is presenting the Game Masters Exhibition from 28th June – 28th October, 7 days a week. ACMI, if you have not been there before, is situated at Federation Square in Melbourne’s CBD and is a haven for less traditional art. Instead of painting and sculpture, like a more stereotypical gallery, ACMI is home to video, sound, video games and other creative art usually not shown in a traditional gallery form. ACMI also has seminars, talks, films and creative workshops. This winter video games are in focus with the Game Masters Exhibition.
I am a huge fan of video games, not just playing them, but the art, music, design and why they are so popular. This exhibition gives everyone the chance to explore the motivation behind some classic games and hear talks from gaming visionaries like Peter Molyneux (Fable, Black & White), Will Wright (SimCity, The Sims, Spore), Tim Schafer (The Secret of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Brütal Legend), Warren Spector (Deus Ex, Epic Mickey), Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid). In addition to this there will be over 125 games on show, over 100 of which will be playable by any visitor to the exhibition. The exhibition includes companies such as Blizzard (World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo), Sega (Sonic, just about any arcade game!), Nintendo (Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong), Rovio (Angry Birds), Halfbrick (Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride), and TT Games (all the LEGO games). All in all a huge cross-section of the industry is present from indie and casual games to giant blockbusters and everything in between.
The exhibition is broken down into 3 sections elaborated below.
Arcade Heroes: This section is all about arcade classics from the 1970’s. Everything from Pac-Man to Space Invaders and many games in between will be playable in their original arcade format. I am quite excited by this prospect, as many of the games on offer have not been available to the public for years.
Game Changers: This section is an in depth look at some of the developers who have completely changed the face of games in regards to both game design and art. Earlier I mentioned some of the developers and their games, many of which will be playable. The innovators in this section have been responsible for everything from SimCity to Ico and Sonic.
Indies: This section is devoted to what is becoming an increasingly important part of today’s game landscape, the Indie Game. If you have ever played Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride, Minecraft, or Machinarium you will be familiar with an indie game. The idea behind indie games is that the creator has complete control, and can make the game as they see fit. It allows for crazy ideas and odd concepts to see the light of day, when major publishers would ordinarily say no.
There is almost too much content to write about, Game Masters The Exhibition covers everything from Space Invaders and Pac-Man to Guitar Hero and Journey. It really is a fascinating look at the entire history of video games, from its humble beginnings in the 1970’s to what some people consider a valid artistic field today. It has something for everyone, from hardcore gamers, to casual gamers, and even those who do not game at all.
Video Games are obviously the focal point of this exhibition, but there will also be a significant film program including Indie Game: The Movie and a Game Master’s Choice film where developers nominate films which have been a big influence and they are screened for everyone.
ACMI have decided to go all out with this exhibition, and this includes a game created specifically for the exhibition called Game Masters The Game. This App is available for free on both iPhone and Android and includes information about the exhibition as well as the game, and a special bonus level that is unlockable if you attend the exhibition itself.
If you have ever been interested in what goes into video games, or you simply want to play some classics, I highly recommend going along to the Game Masters Exhibition some time before 28 October. In fact, even if you don’t have much interest in video games, most of you will have played some casual games, on your phone or otherwise (snake anyone?), and will take something interesting away from this comprehensive look into video games.