A major exhibition that explores the history, culture and impact of video games is set to return to Edinburgh after 20 years. Game On, which was first shown at the National Museum of Scotland in 2002, will feature more than 150 playable games from the past five decades, as well as rare consoles, memorabilia and original artwork.
The evolution of gaming
The exhibition will showcase how video games have evolved from simple arcade machines and home computers to immersive virtual reality and mobile gaming. Visitors will be able to play classic games such as Pong, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog, Tetris and Street Fighter II, as well as newer titles such as Minecraft, Fortnite, The Last of Us and Animal Crossing.
Game On will also explore the creative and technical aspects of game development, such as design, programming, sound, graphics and animation. The exhibition will feature interviews with game developers, designers and artists, as well as examples of their work and sketches. Some of the highlights include the original concept art for Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, the storyboard for Grand Theft Auto III, and the prototype for the Nintendo Wii controller.
The impact of gaming
The exhibition will also examine the cultural and social impact of video games, such as how they have influenced art, music, film, literature and fashion. Game On will display artworks inspired by video games, such as Andy Warhol’s Mario Paintings, Cory Arcangel’s Super Mario Clouds and Invader’s mosaic installations. The exhibition will also feature soundtracks, costumes, merchandise and fan art related to video games.
Game On will also address some of the controversies and challenges that video games have faced, such as violence, addiction, representation and diversity. The exhibition will present different perspectives and opinions on these issues, as well as examples of how video games have been used for education, activism, health and social good. Game On will also celebrate the diversity and creativity of the gaming community, such as modders, streamers, cosplayers and esports players.
The future of gaming
The exhibition will also look ahead to the future of gaming, such as how emerging technologies and trends will shape the next generation of games and gamers. Game On will showcase some of the latest innovations and experiments in gaming, such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence, haptic feedback and brain-computer interfaces. The exhibition will also invite visitors to share their own visions and ideas for the future of gaming.
Game On will open at the National Museum of Scotland on 1 December 2023 and run until 30 April 2024. The exhibition is organised by the Barbican Centre in London and has toured more than 30 countries since its debut in 2002. Game On is supported by the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Edinburgh City Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.