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Arcade: Homegrown Video Games

Flutter by Runaway Play


From Cletus Clay to Dungeon King, from hack and slash to butterfly play, The Dowse celebrates the talents of New Zealand's visionary game designers in Arcade, a new exhibition that opens on 10 November. Arcade showcases the work of our most talented and influential indie gaming artists in an exhibition of striking visual effects, stunning digital art as well as still images, video and the actual games to play.

Arcade looks at the creativity behind the games, exploring the graphics, concept art and storytelling of some of New Zealand's best games, and never-before-published sketches, models and works-in-progress. Curator Leanne Wickham says video gaming is currently described as the 'fasted-growing form of mass art' in the world. Wickham expects the exhibition to be a hit with young males but points out that 47% of all players are now women. In fact adult women represent a greater portion of the game-playing population (30%) than boys aged 17 or younger (18%). Games by two women working in the industry, Maru Nihoniho of Metia Interactive, creator of Sparx, and Sarah Quick from Tuna HQ, co-creator of Cletus Clay, also feature in Arcade.

Chuck Darwin's Extinction Squad is another game featured in the show. It was created by Wellington company PikPok, a division of Sidhe, one of New Zealand's largest developers and publishers of games. PikPok can boast that five of its games have been downloaded over a million times each.

"New Zealand games studios are export businesses employing highly skilled technical and creative staff, creating original game ideas and increasingly retaining that intellectual property in New Zealand," says Stephen Knightly, Chairman of the NZ Game Developers Association.

Other games in the exhibition include: Flutter by Dunedin based company Runaway Play which teaches players about the Amazon rainforest through the magic of virtual butterflies; SmallWorlds, created by Outsmart, a virtual 3D world that has passed the seven million player mark and was voted top prize in the Social Computing category of the Adobe MAX Awards 2009; Ancient Frog by Napier-based British born James Brown is a contemplative puzzle game set in a range of serene and atmospheric natural environments; Path of Exile by Grinding Gear Games is a fantasy online action role-playing game based on visceral combat; Dungeon King by BulletProof Arcade Ltd is an action-role playing game; Space Hawk is an arcade action game created by Star Kiwi Studios - the whole game is made out of real 3D objects. Space Hawk has sold sell four million units in a year; Music Manager (yet to be released) was created by Stephen Knightly's Auckland company InGame. It provides up and coming music managers with an online experience of managing their own band.

Written by

The Dowse Art Museum

14 Aug 2012