It’s fitting that in the same week that a report unveiled the huge growth and potential within the Irish games industry, the Science Gallery in Dublin opened its doors to a new exhibition looking at the future of play. We visited GAME to talk to curator Steve Collins and some exhibitors about the Irish gaming industry and what’s on offer at the Science Gallery for the coming months.
GAME, which will run until 20 January 2013, looks at how we play, what we play with and what drives us to play. While not limited to video gaming, this form of play is featured prominently throughout the exhibition, from new ways to play classic Pong with different physical controllers to an arcade version of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Following Jamie McCormick’s report for Gamedevelopers.ie which notes the significant growth of the games industry in Ireland over the past three years, statistics on gaming are displayed on the walls of the gallery space – some from McCormick’s report, as well as figures from other sources.
In all, there are more than 20 hands-on game installations just begging to be played with, including a unique hack of a classic arcade game, an interactive art installation by world-renowned game designer Eric Zimmerman, challenging out-of-body experience, and a chance to play one game across 30 years of consoles.
Other options for play include in-gallery games like We, The Resistance, a giant crowd-controlled version of Tetris, a game that can’t be finished in a lifetime and will need to be passed on through generations, and a challenge to visitors to compete to light up the gallery in either white or green. Developers are using the event to showcase new games, such as Haunted Planet’s augmented reality game looking for Bram Stoker’s vampires, and a QR code-based version of Quasar created by students from Trinity College Dublin (TCD).
There’s also a game lounge with two Android tablets, two iPads and two couches, with games recommended by the audience and GAME curators ready for playing.
Along with the exhibition is a full programme of events and workshops, including Friday night socials, talks from game creators and designers (such as Zimmerman, Mary Flanagan and Phil Campbell), in-depth Unity workshops, and a game design lab.
Collins – co-founder of Swrve, Havok and Kore – came up with the idea for GAME and is one of its curators, along with Mads Haahr from the TCD School of Computer Science and Dylan Collins, founder of Fight My Monster.