Barbican Gallery Announces the first major UK Exhibition to Explore the History, Culture and Future of Computer Games.

Barbican is proud to announce Game On, the first major UK exhibition to explore the 40-year history of computer gaming (1962-2002 and beyond).

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On show from 16 May - 15 September 2002, the exhibition will explore the creativity and influence of computer games on contemporary culture.

"Game On is going to be a spectacular exhibition," says Conrad Bodman, the Barbican's resident curator. "It will identify key creative individuals involved in software design, and explain crucial developments in hardware technology from the primitive colossal computers of the early sixties to the Game Cube. There will be some unique material and objects in the show and lots of interactive opportunities for visitors".

Says Lucien King, guest curator, "The exhibition has taken us around the world from Europe and America to Japan in search of all of the good things that have come from games. Anybody who is an avid gamer or has a mild interest in electronic entertainment, will not want to miss out on this show. It's never been done before to this extent and is going to go down a storm with young and old alike."

Over 250 exhibits will be displayed in an exciting and specially created environment. Game On will be based on 11 themed sections exploring a wide variety of areas. These will include early arcade games - featuring the very first arcade game - Computer Space (1971); the creative process of games - highlighting key individuals who have been responsible for the development of games such as Core Design the creators of Tomb Raider and Maxis developer of The Sims.

The exhibition will also feature original artwork and prototypes of the games. The section entitled Games Families offers the chance for visitors to play over 40 games from action to simulation. The impact of film and music on computer games will be explored as well as an area especially designed for under 18s in mind, featuring artwork, handhelds and games stations that reflect both historical and current games. The cultural links and differences between games developed in Europe, North America and Japan, will be examined, and a section dedicated to the future of computer games with the latest examples of hardware and software will be featured.

The exhibition promises to satisfy the imagination of the wildest of gamers by showing the following

  • VINTAGE ARCADE GAMES AND COMPUTERS - Spacewar (1962) - developed by Steve Russell on a PDP-1 computer, Computer Space (1971), Pong (1972), Space Invaders (1978), Pac-Man (1980), Donkey Kong (1981)
  • RARE CONSOLES AND HANDHELDS including computer and console hardware such as Atari, Commodore, Nintendo, Sega, Sinclair and Sony
  • MACHINES THAT REVOLUTIONISED GAMING - Magnavox Odyssey (1972), Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1982), Sony PlayStation (1995) and much more!
  • GAMES FAMILIES with 50 playable games stations including historical and newly released games
  • CREATIVE MINDS BEHIND THESE TOP GAMES: DMA/Rockstar Games - Grand Theft Auto, Core Design - Tomb Raider, Maxis - The Sims, The Pokémon Phenomenon
  • GAME CULTURE - Cultural links and differences of games from Europe, North America and Japan.
  • CHILDREN'S GAMES AREA - Artwork, handhelds and games stations that reflect both historical and current games that influence children aged 4 years old and up.
  • SOUND INTERACTION - Soundtracks from games by Robbie Williams (FIFA Football 2000), Chemical Brothers (WipeOut), The Cardigans (Grand Turismo), Ian Dury (Duex Machina).
  • CINEMA AND GAMES - The hottest film posters and clips and playable games. Super Mario Brothers, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, Tron, Golden Eye, & Star Wars Rogue Squadron.
  • FILM SEASON - Shown at Barbican Screen including screenings of Tron, The Matrix, and Final Fantasy.
  • THE FUTURE OF COMPUTER GAMES featuring all the latest hardware in development and perspectives on the future from gamers and industry insiders
  • CONTEMPORARY ART COMMISSIONS - New works by a range of leading contemporary artists that examine the strands that underlie the cultural phenomenon of computer games including cinema, music, character, graffiti.
  • SHOP - Buy vintage and contemporary hardware, software, books and magazines
  • BOOK (Ł19.95) features authors Steven Poole (Trigger Happy) and J.C. Herz (Joystick Nation).
  • INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION TOUR starting with a showing at The Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh (October 2002 - February 2003)