Thursday 30 October, 2014

Tickets are now on sale for the hotly anticipated exhibition Game Masters, which opens on Friday 5 December at the National Museum of Scotland. 

Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, SuperMario and the Angry Birds are just some of the computer game legends set to descend on the museum as part of an exhibition which will feature over 100 playable games from across a period when gaming has evolved from a niche interest to a global industry.

As well as the international story, Scotland’s contributions are explored through playable games and original artwork, including early sketches and scripts for Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings lent by leading figures from the Scottish gaming industry. Both titles originated in Dundee with DMA Design. Other Scottish indie developers featured include Edinburgh’s BAFTA-winning Lucky Frame (Bad Hotel), Dundee’s Space Budgie (Glitchspace) and Simon Meek (The 39 Steps).

Visitors to the exhibition will discover more about game design and development through rare original game artwork, 2D objects and revealing interviews with game designers.

The exhibition covers the industry in depth commencing with Arcade Heroes, a focus on the seminal arcade games of the late 1970s and early 1980s and spotlights pioneering designers such as Shigeru Miyamoto (Donkey Kong), Tomohiro Nishikado (Space Invaders), Ed Logg (Asteroids), and Toru Iwatani (Pac-Man).

The nature of gaming changed as it moved from the arcade to the home computer, console and, increasingly, handheld devices. Several key designers whose work on a range of titles which embody these ‘game-changing’- transitions, including Yuji Naka and the Sonic Team (Sonic the Hedgehog), Nintendo (Super Mario Bros), Blizzard Entertainment (World of Warcraft) and Paulina Bozek (SingStar).

While gaming has become big business, some of the most significant developments have come at the margins, led by smaller, independent designers and developers. The work of these indies will also feature in the exhibition including Halfbrick (Fruit Ninja), Markus Persson (Minecraft), Rovio (Angry Birds) and many others.

Sarah Rothwell, Assistant Curator, Modern and Contemporary Design at National Museums Scotland said:

“We are really looking forward to the opening of this exhibition. Not only will it be great fun, but it will also give visitors the chance to learn about the key individuals who designed some of the world’s favourite games.”

World of Warcraft, The Sims and the Lego film-franchise tie-ins, such as Star Wars and Harry Potter, are among the famous names featured, while the key role played by smaller independent designers in game design and development is also explored. Visitors will be able to make a song and dance by joining in with both Sing Star and Dance Central.

The exhibition will be supported by a programme of events including a Christmas-themed event with comedian Rab Florence in December and a gaming-themed Museum Late event in February.

The National Museum of Scotland is the first European venue for the exhibition, which was created by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne, supported by the Victorian Government.

Notes to Editors

  1. National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in the UK and Europe and it looks after collections of national and international importance. The organisation provides loans, partnerships, research and training in Scotland and internationally. Our individual museums are the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum. The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh houses conservation and research facilities as well as collections not currently on display.
  2. ACMI, The Australian Centre for the Moving Image, is a publicly funded cultural institution in Melbourne which celebrates, explores, and promotes, the cultural and creative richness of the moving image in all its forms – art, film, television, video games, and digital culture, through exhibitions, screenings, film festivals, live events, creative workshops, education programs and Collection resources.

For further information and images please contact Bruce Blacklaw, Alice Wyllie, Esme Haigh or Susan Gray, Press Office, National Museums Scotland, tel 0131 247 4165, b.blacklaw@nms.ac.uk

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