As a video game player, you tend to spend time on your chosen system in physical isolation, with perhaps a handful of online buddies playing a game you all enjoy.
The only time you would “down tools” (or controllers), was for the occasional video gaming event or exhibition where you could share your passion with like-minded gamers.
Well, it is time to down your controllers. Game Masters: The Exhibition is in town!
The exhibition is currently showing at ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) until the end of October 2012.
Let’s cut to the chase and get to what you really want to know – how was Game Masters?
Before entering the exhibition, there were two arcade machines on the concourse, Yu Suzuki’s ‘After Burner’ and ‘Space Harrier’. This was a good start. It set the scene and piqued my excitement. After admiring these beasts, it was time to make a beeline to the entrance.
At the bottom of the stairs you are greeted by arcade nostalgia – there are more arcade machines from yesteryear than you can poke a stick at. This arcade heaven makes up ‘The Arcade Heroes’ section of the exhibition and showcases machines from world-renowned video game designers like Dave Theurer (‘Missle Command’ and ‘Tempest’), Shigeru Miyamoto (‘Donkey Kong’), Toru Iwatani (‘Pac-Man’), Eugene Jarvis (‘Robotron 2084’), Tomohiro Nishikado (‘Space Invaders’) – just to name a few.
It was great to see children enjoying games that their parents enjoyed when they were their age.
Once you pry yourself away from the arcade machines your eyes fixate on the retro gaming wall. This wonderment has computers, consoles, and peripherals from the 1970s to today, pinned to a wall behind glass casing. I witnessed plenty of parents pointing at consoles and explaining what they were to their kids.
Moving right along, past Yu Suzuki’s ‘Out Run’ and ‘Super Hang-on’ machines, you enter the second section of the exhibition, ‘The Game Changers’. This section showcases 14 designers – some individual and some teams – that have introduced new genres, created our much-loved characters, and revolutionised the way we understand, interact with, and play games.
Designers include Hideo Kojima (‘Metal Gear Solid’), Peter Molyneux (‘Populous’), Yuji Naka and the Sonic Team (‘Sonic the Hedgehog’), Blizzard Entertainment (‘World of Warcraft’), Tim Schafer (‘Grim Fandango’), Warren Spector (‘Deus Ex’), Paulina Bozek (‘SingStar’), Fumito Ueda (‘Shadow of the Colossus’), and Will Wright (‘The Sims’) – true heavyweights of the industry.
A variety of retro and new consoles and computers featuring the designers’ work are interspersed throughout this section – from ‘Nights into Dreams’ on the Sega Saturn to ‘World of Warcraft’ on Alienware hardware. There is also concept art, storyboards, character wireframes, and design documents from the Game Changers – truly awe-inspiring stuff.
Last but not least, section three of the exhibition presents the ‘Indies’ – independent designers that work outside the restraints of major studios. Their creative freedom ensures we get idiosyncratic games that blur the distinction between genres and forge new ones. Indie designers include: Eric Chahi (‘Another World’), Firemint (‘Flight Control’), Jonathon Blow (‘Braid’), Jakub Dvorsky (‘Machinarium’), Halfbrick (‘Fruit Ninja’) and Masaya Matsuura (‘PaRappa the Rapper’).
So, is it worth going to Game Masters? Let me state one fact, the exhibition caters for all kinds of gamers, young and old. Considering all 125+ games are free, including the historic arcade machines, the answer is an emphatic ‘YES’. You may even find yourself going back more than once, and that is saying something.
For more photos from the Game Masters: The Exhibition, go to our Facebook page.
Game Masters: The Exhibition
28 June – 28 October
Mon to Wed 10am – 6pm
Thu & Fri 10am – 10pm
Sat & Sun 9:30am – 6pm
The ACMI Store has special extended hours during the Game Masters. Grab some cool gaming merchandise !