London’s Somerset House has revealed the details of its new games and play exhibition, Game Changers: Another Way to Play.
Launching in April, the exhibition will explore how games continue to evolve, as well displaying the latest designs and technology alongside classic games.
Designed and curated by West Sussex-based game producer Matheson Marcault, the exhibition will show how designers and artists continue to adapt the mechanics of classic games in new ways.
Using three famous games as its focal point – chess, billiards and mazes – the exhibition will showcase imaginative new works inspired by these traditional methods of play.
Highlights include a playable installation of Zach Gage’s Really Bad Chess, a digital game that recreates chess with a random selection of playing pieces and Maze, a two-player table-top maze game designed by sculptor Alexander Berchert.
Visitors will also be able to look at archival material and imagery which charts how game design has changed over time.
Now Play This
Matheson Marcault has also designed Now Play This, a weekend-long games and play festival running alongside the exhibition. Held in Somerset House’s New Wing, each room will have a different look, and Matheson Marcault has designed aspects such as cabinets for digital games to be displayed and played.
Based on the three-day-long festival’s theme – Cabinet of Impossible Games – visitors will be able to learn about games and prototypes that were never finished or released, including plans for playgrounds that couldn’t be built and incomplete video games.
Another room will be filled with games which explore how duration impacts play, with visitors being challenged to complete tasks such as being a virtual make-up artist or sketching a digital artwork.
Giant communal word search
Other highlights will include theatre group Block Stop’s new interactive game, Of Plagues, Deceptions and Other Thing, where players have to solve puzzles found all over Somerset House in order to stop an outbreak of bubonic plague, and a giant communal word search spanning the walls of an entire room, by street artist Aida Gomez.
Game Changers: Another Way to Play runs from 7 April – 7 May and admission is free. Now Play This runs from 7-9 April, with tickets starting from £6.50. Visit the Somerset House website for more information.