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While cruising my information hub of blogs and industry rags I stumbled on to an insightful find on ArtsHub* (a sweet AU site that gives good right brain)

The most recent media statistics indicate that time spent viewing a
screen for recreation increased by one hour last year, at the expense
of outdoor activities, to over 16 hours per week. It is not surprising
then that the opening of Game On was packed.

There were a very large number of children with their parents and the
Minister – Lynne Kosky - brought alone her GenX/Y staffers who were
itching to get to the consoles. Invitees at openings seldom let the
show get in the way of a drink, but when the speeches had finished the
floor cleared as people flooded into the exhibition below. Game On,
a received exhibition toured by Barbican Art Gallery (owned by the City
of London Corporation), is a visual historiography of the evolution of
the video game from the first known example produced by students at MIT
(with a computer the size of a car) to hints at the next waves of
interactive gaming technology. The exhibition is chronologically laid
out, like a Victorian era museum updated with interactive screens. You
can play every game on display and that’s about 125 to get through.

Gaming is a massive enterprise: the sector outstripped film sales in
Australia by more than $200 million raking in a cool billion dollars in
revenues in 2007 and the Pokemon franchise alone has made more that $26
billion. Most people will also not be aware that Australia exports
products worth around $100 Million, about half made or developed in
Melbourne. The ACMI dedicated games lab, a world first, is a creative
hub for the sector and the show has local content weaved in to the
displays. Unless you work in advertising you might also be unaware that
there is a huge business selling product placement inside these
constructed worlds.

This is a pervasive, increasingly sophisticated and very influential creative sector. I’ve tuned into the ABC’s Good Game
show often and by luck saw their now classic first person shooter (FPS)
episode. FPS games are those highly controversial ultra-violent games
that place you as an anonymous, unaccountable killer - your view of the
world is often directly down the gun barrel. That program revealed a
level of connoisseurship and depth of nuanced language that we might
usually reserve for discussion of fine wines. Aficionados rate
“immersion” (how deeply a game draws you into its internal reality),
plot lines, the visual aesthetic of blood splatter and more.

There is a small section in the exhibition on the creative process-
early drawings and classically crisp celluloid cells of Manga-style
characters. Some of Ocean Quigley’s (famous for designing Sim City
3000) original oil paintings - lush and deeply modeled imaginary
landscapes - are on display (look for Red hats and fire
, 2001). Musicians should find the recording of the short works by
Koichi Sugiyama and Richard Jacque engaging if only because they are
some of the most listened to works ever made on the planet.

Subliminal to the displays is the large scale convergence, grinding
like tectonic plates, that is slowly reshaping the sector. It’s not so
much convergence of technical platforms but rather of creative
processes and expectations. Sony now brings classical Hollywood film
methods to the creation of its play-station games in huge creative
teams. Pixar and Dreamworks animations set standard that need to be
accommodated in 3D Simland . And astute film critics might see how the
mass-audience for games has subtly changed film - raising the
excitement stakes in the ‘Bond’ and ‘Bourne’ genres.

Glossed over however was the dark side. Violence and FPS formats are
pop-culture staples that we are willing to be desensitized to,
notwithstanding that more than 30,000 parents have reportedly
downloaded ACMI’s guide to responsible gaming. However, the role of
gaming neuro-psychology (enhancing stimulation and addictiveness is a
major research area) in the development of the gambling industry’s
gaming interfaces is deftly sidestepped. So too is the major role that
the US military has played in developing seductive ultra-violent FPS
war-ware.

Overall, as presented, Game On is a nostalgic gamer’s
paradise and the kids will have to be dragged screaming from the play
stations at home time. It’s well curated, great fun and there is more
than one layer here for the thoughtful visitor.

- Source Arts Hub

GAME:ON! via @jpenabickley