28 June - 28 October 2012, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne.
From 28 June to 28 October 2012 ACMI has the honour of hosting the Game Masters Exhibition, the follow up to the 2008 Game On exhibition.
Game Masters isn’t your ordinary exhibition where you have the overemphasised "NO TOUCHING" signs distributed everywhere. What makes this exhibition so unique is that you’re able to interact with the displays.
The exhibition features 124 games to choose from, created by some of the biggest gaming companies in the world. Game Masters definitely offers a lot of entertainment, colour and excitement.
Game Masters is displayed in three main sections: Arcade Heroes, Game Changers and Indies. Each section offers insights into the background of the game creator as well as the ideas that inspired the games we adore today.
The way the exhibition starts and ends is sort of like time travel. Entering the small yet normal arcade environment of Arcade Heroes, then turning the corner and entering Game Changers is just amazing . It’s sort of like a Back to the Future moment. One minute you’re in the year 1970 and then you're instantly transported back to the year 2012. As someone once said: "Great Scott!"
Arcade Heroes is a fairly small section that focuses on the 1970s, when arcade games were just beginning and people were able to witness for the first time a machine that allowed them to interact with a computer.
This section offers insights into the arcade designers as well as their creations. Viewers also have the chance to play arcade greats such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Robotron and many others, including Tomohiro Nishikado’s famous Space Invaders.
Game Changers is the largest section. It explores 14 of the world’s leading video game designers and how their original concepts were developed through the years. Players get to interact with some of the great game titles such as Metal Gear Solid, Super Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Legend of Zelda and many others.
Viewers also witness the developmental transformation from original idea to the latest version by playing the games in order from the Super Nintendo version, then the Sega and PS1 versions and on to the recent PS3, 3DS and Wii titles, which is great and fun way to experience the history for yourself.
Other titles are also on interactive display, including games from creators TT Games (Lego series), Blizzard Games (World of Warcraft), Peter Molyneux (Fable series) and many more.
Game Changers also gives you the chance to exercise your vocal chords with SingStar, and test your dancing skills with Dance Central, providing a massive arena for you to strut your stuff. If you feel like jamming instead, Band Hero also has a hub for viewers to test their musical gaming talents.
Game Changers also offers more details about the creation of certain titles, featuring interviews with developers, concept art and an exploration the process of how a game is completed using storyboards.
The last section, Indies, displays the works of independent companies such as Markus Persson’s Minecraft and Rovio’s Angry Birds, as well as Australian companies Firemint (Flight Control) and Halfbrick (Fruit Ninja). It also explains what indie games are and how they are different from other games in terms of their development.
Overall Game Masters is a brilliant and entertaining display that provides insight into the history of game development.
Being able to interact with that history and see the developmental stages in person is what makes Game Masters such a unique and enjoyable experience.