ACMI’s Got Game: Game Masters world premiere today

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    The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) today launched the hotly anticipated Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition, Game Masters, a highly interactive videogame exhibition showing until October 2012. 

    International stars of the gaming industry Tim Schafer (PsychonautsBrütal Legend) and Warren Spector (Deus Ex, Disney’s Epic Mickey) launched the exhibition alongside Melbourne game developer Rob Murray (Flight Control, Real Racing).

    The exhibition showcases the work of leading local and international videogame designers with over 125 playable games from the arcade era through to the latest console and mobile game technology.

    Over 30 game designers who have made a significant and ongoing impact in the field are profiled throughout the exhibition, including well-known international, independent and Australian game designers. The designers’ work is explored through a combination of rare concept artwork, newly commissioned interviews and playable games.

    The exhibition is presented in three sections. The first, ‘Arcade Heroes’, spotlights pioneering designers from the arcade era, including Masanobu Endō (JPN, Xevious, 1982), Tōru Iwatani (JPN, Pac-Man, 1980), Eugene Jarvis (USA, Defender, 1980), Konami (JPN, Scramble, 1981), Ed Logg (USA, Asteroids, 1979), Tomohiro Nishikado (JPN, Space Invaders, 1978), Taito (JPN, Elevator Action, 1983), Tim Skelly (USA, Rip-Off, 1980) and Dave Theurer (USA, Missile Command, 1980).

    Leading contemporary designers featured in the second section, ‘Game Changers’, include Blizzard Entertainment (USA, World of Warcraft, 2004), Paulina Bozek (UK/CAN, SingStar, 2004), Hideo Kojima (JPN, METAL GEAR SOLID, 1998), Tetsuya Mizuguchi (JPN, Child of Eden, 2011), Peter Molyneux OBE (UK, Populous, 1989, Dungeon Keeper series, Fable series), Yuji Naka and the Sonic Team (JPN, Sonic the Hedgehog, 1991), Nintendo (JPN, Super Mario Bros, 1985, The Legend of Zelda, 1986), Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy (USA, Rock Band, 2007), Tim Schafer (USA, Psychonauts, 2005), Warren Spector (USA, Disney’s Epic Mickey, 2010), Yu Suzuki (JPN, Hang On, 1983), TT Games (UK, LEGO Star Wars: The Videogame, 2005), Fumito Ueda (JPN, ICO, 2001) and Will Wright (USA, SimCity, 1989).

    A major component of the show will be an exploration of independent game designers in the third and final chapter of the exhibition called ‘Indies’. Artists such as Jonathan Blow (USA, Braid, 2008), Capy (CAN, Critter Crunch, 2008), Eric Chahi (FR, Another World, 1991), Jakub Dvorský (CZ, Machinarium, 2009), Firemint (AUS, Flight Control, 2009), Halfbrick (AUS, Fruit Ninja, 2010), Introversion (UK, Darwinia, 2005), Masaya Matsuura (JPN, PaRappa the Rapper, 1996), Markus Persson (SW, Minecraft, 2011), Rovio (FIN, Angry Birds, 2009), Erik Svedäng (SW, Blueberry Garden, 2010), thatgamecompany (USA, flower, 2009) and The Behemoth (USA, Alien Hominid HD, 2002) are profiled in this section.

    The exhibition features unique experiences such as an immersive 3D version of Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s acclaimed Child of Eden (2011) and a spectacular multiplayer dance stage for a large-scale version of Dance Central 2 (2011). A selection of classic arcade games from the 1970s and 80s acquired especially for the exhibition are playable in their original form.

    The Game Masters exhibition is accompanied by a series of public, film and education programs, appealing to people of all ages and abilities, from the budding game developer to smart phone users, from children to the ‘original’ gamers. More information on these programs can be found on the ACMI website.

    ACMI has also developed a digital program concurrent to the exhibition, incorporating a video conferencing program, a suite of online resources including a bespoke website, an eBook (RRP $17.50 at the iBookstore, Game Masters hardcopy available in the ACMI Store RRP $24.95, both published by Hardie Grant) and a newly commissioned mobile game, Game Masters: The Game (free to download from the App Store and Google Play).

    As a major contribution to 21st Century moving image practice and entertainment, videogames have been celebrated by ACMI in exhibitions, films and public programs. Game Masters is the much anticipated follow up to ACMI’s successful 2008 Game On exhibition which explored the history of videogames and videogame genres from the 1960s to the present day.

    Curated by ACMI’s Conrad Bodman and Emma McRae, Game Masters is a Melbourne Winter Masterpieces initiative and will open at ACMI on 28 June and run through to 28 October 2012. For more information, please visit acmi.net.au