The V&A opens up the ‘black box’ of video game design

In a landmark exhibition dedicated to video games, the V&A is uncovering the behind-the-scenes design of some of the most groundbreaking titles of the last decade. As part of a special week on CR devoted to gaming, we talk to its curator, Marie Foulston

The V&A’s collection of couture gowns, antique furniture and ancient ceramics welcomes an unlikely companion to the museum this month, in the form of Video games: Design/Display/Disrupt. Celebrating contemporary game design, the exhibition brings together major blockbusters and independent titles in an effort to bring gaming, and the creators behind it, into the design fold. It follows in the footsteps of exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, Science Museum and Barbican, but where previous shows focused on the nostalgic appeal of retro games, the V&A is concentrating on games designed from the mid-2000s up until present day.

“The reason we picked this period is because there was a whole host of technological catalysts, from smartphones to broadband and social media, which impacted design and life, but had a very radical impact on video games and how they’re designed, discussed and played,” explains curator Marie Foulston. “The exhibition focuses on video games from that point onwards, and how they’ve begun to push at the boundaries of the discipline. We’re looking at groundbreaking work across three sections: the design of groundbreaking titles, the critical conversations game design communities are having, and also the role of the player in a creative design capacity.”