The Game Masters Exhibition -- Melbourne Winter Masterpiece -- kicked off in style this morning with a media launch that brought laughs and tears.
ACMI CEO Tony Sweeney opened the event before handing over to our MCs for the day, Bajo and Hex from Good Game, who promptly introduced the curator of Game Masters, as well as 2008’s Game On, Conrad Bodman. We had a chance to chat to Conrad back in April about the hectic two year development period that has finally come to fruition.
Once the formalities were over, we had a 45 minute panel discussion headlined by international guests Tim Schafer and Warren Spector, alongside Firemint CEO Rob Murray. Sadly Peter Molyneux had to pullout last minute due to a family emergency.
Spector wasn’t short of stories to share, reliving saving the universe on a massive 25” TV in 1982 and enlightening us on his fondness for mice and including a basketball court in everything he has ever worked on. Have you found all 23 of them? (I know I haven’t).
"It never occurred to me that they [games] were made by people" - Tim Schafer
Aussie boy Rob shared his love for the iPhone and the rise of the mobile platform. Flight Control was a game he made whilst on holidays as a creative outlet after recently sitting on the business side of the fence. Little did he know that it would skyrocket to the top of the iOS sales charts.
”It never occurred to me that they were made by people,” said Schafer on his path to becoming a gaming legend. “There’s no way that regular people made these games,” is what he thought even after he began to dabble in the art himself. It wasn’t until he stumbled into an ambitious college careers expo that he learnt that normal people, not much smarter than us, could get paid to make games at the hands of LucasArts.
After the funniest man in game development lived up to his reputation, the doors were opened to the Game Masters gallery by the Victorian Premier in an inherently awkward speech that reminded us of the government’s policy on video games being a children’s medium.
With no time to dwell on Teddy B’s words of wisdom, we were given free reign to roam the tantalising selection of games from 30 of the world’s most inspiring developers. The prestigious list of creative visionaries includes Hideo Kojima, Shigeru Miyamoto, Will Wright, Sonic Team, and of course Peter Molyneux, Tim Schafer and Warren Spector.
Rob Murray and Firemint found themselves in the indie section, which is best described as “Nintendo Lifestyle White”. He was joined by the likes of Halfbrick with FruitNinja Kinect and thatgamecompany following in the wake of Flower.
The stunning exhibition has been designed by a renowned local architect, and looks amazing. Words are cheap, and galleries are meant to be easy on the eye, but Game Masters takes it to an entirely new level. In total there are over 125 games to play, including 16 classic arcade machines and a bunch of consoles that epitomise game development.
Not only does it look stunning, the games chosen could not have been in better company. Each has had an important role to play in the development of the art form of the 21st century and celebrate our hobby, our passion, and the people who made it possible like nothing I’ve ever seen.
It’s an exhibition by people who care about games, for people who love them.
Game Masters opens at ACMI tomorrow, June 28, and runs until October 28. During which time you’ll want to put on your “night gloves” for Late Bit for live entertainment each Thursday night between 6-9PM. Tomorrow night is likely to be hectic for opening frivolities, and will be followed by numerous guest appearances by diverse DJs throughout the four month run.
Tickets to Game Masters start at $22 for adults ($17.50 concession and $11 for children aged 4-11). Families, large groups and schools receive a discount. If you plan on making a return visit, a 3 session pass will set you back $55, or $45 for concession, while ACMI members can snag one for $40.
We’ll have more from Gamer Masters over the coming days; if you live in Melbourne and call yourself a gamer, get down to Federation Square to experience one of the best tributes to video games put on display in a stunning gallery. If you get in quick, you might even get a glimpse of gaming royalty (although, be aware that the next two days are dominated by industry events that require separate tickets).
By Ben Salter - Bio