As part of the London Games Festival, the V&A has announced a new exhibition to launch this September, called Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt.
Celebrating and exploring groundbreaking design in video games since the mid-2000s, the exhibition will feature original prototypes, early character designs, notebooks and much more from games that pushed the boundaries of game design. It will also delve into how video games explore “complex and sensitive subject matters such as representation, race, sexuality and geo-politics."
Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, Thatgamecompany’s Journey, Nintendo’s Splatoon, Riot Games’ League of Legends and Cardboard Computer’s Kentucky Route Zero will be among the titles featured in Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, which will run from September 8th 2018 to February 24th 2019. Tickets are now available to purchase on the V&A’s website.
Alongside this exhibition, the V&A also announced that applications are now open for a new video games residency at the museum, from October 15th 2018 to June 15th 2019. “The resident will be a UK-based artist, designer or maker involved in the video games scene who wishes to develop their practice through working with the V&A’s curators and learning team to develop new work and engage with the public,” the announcement said.
Sophia George, now working at studio Frontier Developments, was the the first game design resident at the V&A, in 2013-2014.
“The residency was in two parts, so I spent six months at the V&A researching and I was meant to make a game based on something in the [V&A’s] British Galleries. Then I spent three months in development,” she tells MCV. “I had a small team up at Abertay University which was a mixture of professionals and students to create [iPad title] Strawberry Thief, which is based on William Morris’ pattern.”
The V&A residency is a great opportunity for game designers to learn and work with professionals on new projects, push the boundaries of game design and explore the links between games and classic forms of art. But for George, it was also a way to be a voice to bring more diversity to the industry:
“I learnt that I really wanted to inspire other people to get into games,” she says. “As you can imagine when I was in my [university] courses, there was a very low percentage of women and what I really liked about the residency is that it wasn’t all development, but also engagement. I did so much stuff which schools and I remember being on BBC News and someone emailed me saying: ‘Oh my daughter was going to get into being a nurse but now she wants to be a computer scientist’. I love to make that kind of a difference and help get more diversity in the industry. Also the kind of media exposure I got from it was really amazing.”
To anyone willing to apply for the residency (which you can do right here), George has some advice: “I would say to come with fresh new ideas. I feel like the residency is targeted at people who love to share their work, who work with children and who love to engage with people. So try and just be as open as you can.”