The Urbis Gallery opened the Videogame Nation exhibit two weeks ago – I was invited by the curator, David Crookes, to go along. I meant to get up something about this before, but my camera died (these are it’s last pictures) when I broke it accidentally.
The exhibit is based around the UK videogame industry from past to present – there is enough for a good few hours, if not more, looking at the exhibits, playing the games on show, and reading the huge amount of information on a whole range of aspects – from playing to making videogames.
I personally loved it – some great games on display (apart from the arcade cabinets all free to play), design documents and a varied amount of information on different magazines, publishers, developers and people. The games are presented in a variety of forms – including some nice football bench seating for Sensible Soccer, and a bus stop and bus seat backs for portable games (okay, that was more odd then great, hehe).
I added a few things to the places you could write and draw – I’ve got pictures of my additions to the wall of consoles (sadly missing out several older consoles, but still allows you to pick one and put a comment up), and my Half Life “crowbar” cover, no doubt by now replaced but, well, a game which deserved a clean classic-like cover (it was also easier to draw then any of my other ideas! ).
There were also some great displays on the mini-controversies in the UK around videogames. For Manchester, the Manchester Cathedral sillyness, with Sony’s response printed in its full glory, in the 18 rated section (where, for some reason, Bully was situation despite not being rated 18…), as well as some on the value of fitness to do with videogames.
However, the main thing that was great for me was the history side – there is a lot of information about pre-current-generation games, including ones not finished (Dizzy 2, as photographed to the right), the design of many UK titles – Lemmings, Sensible Soccer, Broken Sword (which I still need to play…), Jeff Minter classics, Oliver Twin games and things from the bedroom programming era – including Elite, and more. It is about the only UK exhibit of videogames on right now – so well worth a visit. Check my gallery of pictures to see some of the information boards and pictures of what was available to play – not at all comprehensive, I should have took more picture
I am also going to try and get back for some of the Sunday-timetabled related events, some sound very interesting and if I go I’ll put down what they were like (especially since I’ve not been updating my site much!).