Design/Play/Disrupt at the V&A Dundee celebrates the cultural importance of videogames

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt opens at V&A Dundee on Saturday 20 April. Image: Michael McGurk

V&A Dundee opens its next major exhibition, Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, this weekend, celebrating and exploring the cultural importance of videogames.

Opening on Saturday, it reveals how they're designed, how they're confronting issues such as politics, race and gender, and how the future of videogames is being shaped by huge online communities, as well as tiny independent studios and collectives around the world.

The exhibition focuses on major shifts since the mid-2000s, when changing technology – from mobile phones to increasing internet speeds – transformed how games are designed, discussed and played. Visitors can see a range of fascinating objects that unpick the design process, from rarely-seen sketches and notebooks to storyboards, musical scores and computer code.

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt is international in perspective, showcasing blockbuster games from major studios such as The Last of Us as well as prototypes by independent developers such as Jenny Jiao Hsia.

The exhibition celebrates the power of play as a means of creative expression, which will be explored further in the museum’s wide-ranging programme, including a conference, talks, workshops, a games jam and the museum’s next Tay Late evening event.

You can also expect to see a major new commission from Glasgow-based illustrator Ursula Kam-Ling Cheng, who has created a colourful and chaotic mural called Girl Evader that is inspired by virtual worlds. Cheng has also incorporated designs by V&A Dundee’s Young People’s Collective and members of the public into a special installation of PVC hangings called Ipseity Invades!

It will run from Saturday 20 April until 8 September 2019. Tickets are available at www.vam.ac.uk/dundee.

Resembling a miniature replica of an arcade machine, the Arcade Backpack was created to show a rotating selection of independent and experimental videogames in surprising settings. Credit: UCLA Games Lab (Photo by Robin Baumgarten)

Resembling a miniature replica of an arcade machine, the Arcade Backpack was created to show a rotating selection of independent and experimental videogames in surprising settings. Credit: UCLA Games Lab (Photo by Robin Baumgarten)

Playable on smartphones are two prototype mini-games from Consume Me by designer Jenny Jiao Hsia. Image: Jenny Jiao Hsia

Playable on smartphones are two prototype mini-games from Consume Me by designer Jenny Jiao Hsia. Image: Jenny Jiao Hsia

Roflpillar: Two players dress as rainbow-coloured caterpillars and wriggle around on the floor, competing to collect the most apples. The game's screen is fixed to the roof inside the fabric playhouse where players stick their heads. Image: Lucky Frame

Roflpillar: Two players dress as rainbow-coloured caterpillars and wriggle around on the floor, competing to collect the most apples. The game's screen is fixed to the roof inside the fabric playhouse where players stick their heads. Image: Lucky Frame

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt opens at V&A Dundee on Saturday 20 April. Image: Michael McGurk

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt opens at V&A Dundee on Saturday 20 April. Image: Michael McGurk

Nina Freeman works with small teams of artists and programmers to make games which often explore sex and relationships. how do you Do It? is a semi-autobiographical game which puts players in the role of a curious 11-year-old girl exploring the idea of sex. Image: Freeman, Butler, Kittaka, Coss

Nina Freeman works with small teams of artists and programmers to make games which often explore sex and relationships. how do you Do It? is a semi-autobiographical game which puts players in the role of a curious 11-year-old girl exploring the idea of sex. Image: Freeman, Butler, Kittaka, Coss

An example of the mass spectacle of esports, (multiplayer games played competitively), the League of Legends World Championships tournament attracts tens of thousands of spectators to watch the professional players in a live atmosphere such as the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium as well as a global online audience of millions. 	Image courtesy of Riot Games.

An example of the mass spectacle of esports, (multiplayer games played competitively), the League of Legends World Championships tournament attracts tens of thousands of spectators to watch the professional players in a live atmosphere such as the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium as well as a global online audience of millions. Image courtesy of Riot Games.

For No Man’s Sky, a small independent team created an entire universe. Players can explore the beauty and adventure of flying their spaceship to over 18 quintillion planets, negotiating hostile environments, engaging in dogfights and using a hyperdrive to visit other galaxies. © 2016 Hello Games Ltd. Developed by Hello Games Ltd. All rights reserved

For No Man’s Sky, a small independent team created an entire universe. Players can explore the beauty and adventure of flying their spaceship to over 18 quintillion planets, negotiating hostile environments, engaging in dogfights and using a hyperdrive to visit other galaxies. © 2016 Hello Games Ltd. Developed by Hello Games Ltd. All rights reserved

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt opens at V&A Dundee on Saturday 20 April. Image: Michael McGurk

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt opens at V&A Dundee on Saturday 20 April. Image: Michael McGurk