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I wrote a chapter in the V&A’s Videogames book

September 04, 2018 ・ Blog

A photograph of the book Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt
Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt

Tomorrow night is the private view of the V&A’s Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, an exhibition on which I was a curator back in 2013/14. I’m incredibly excited to see how it’s all come together.

I was only working on the exhibition in its earliest stages, involved in pitching to the V&A’s board the concept of what videogames might look like in a gallery, in the hopes of unlocking a good budget and a big space. But I found the process fascinating, proof of the rigour that goes into making exhibitions at internationally renowned museums like the V&A.

After some internal staff changes and as I found my role at Hello Games gaining weight, I kinda peeled off the project, but I’ve continued to advise and help out now and then. It’s been great to see it evolve and flower under its excellent curation team, Marie Foulston and Kristian Volsing. They’ve performed wonders to create it and make it all happen.

A photograph of pages about Minecraft in the book Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt.
The chapter I wrote about Minecraft, featuring screenshots by Duncan ‘DeadEndThrills’ Harris

I have, however, contributed a chapter to its catalogue, which was beautifully designed by my friend Darren Wall, who founded the publisher Read-Only Memory. I looked at several major player-made projects in Minecraft, from a recreation of Game of Thrones’ Westeros to a redstone CPU, The Dropper to Survival Games.

I busted right through the wordcount I was given, partly because I felt that the spectrum of player creativity in Minecraft is such a good illustration of the spirit of design and craft that the V&A represents. And luckily they liked it enough that they expanded its space to fit it.

A photograph of pages in the book about WesterosCraft in the book Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt.
King’s Landing, a city built in the huge team project, WesterosCraft

The screenshots are by Duncan ‘DeadEndThrills’ Harris, and they include a shot of the 16-bit ALU build which actually gets across how its structure works, as well as stunning images of other major Minecraft creations.