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Thursday, 17 April 2014 05:37 pm

A look under the hood of game development at Te Papa

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Pac-Man is already sharing cultural space with Rita Angus and the giant squid but Game Masters – The Forum will ask why.

The two day event this week showcases game development opportunities in New Zealand and discuss where video games fit in culture.

The forum is an opportunity to take a look under the hood of video game development, says video games researcher Helen Stuckey who is helping curate the Game Masters exhibition.

“It’s a chance to hear strong local and international speakers, to reflect on other ways to do business/make games, and an opportunity to consider the future of games themselves.”

Te Papa says the goal of the forum is to share knowledge and expand awareness of game development opportunities in New Zealand and abroad.

International speakers include Masaya Matsuura, creator of PaRappa the Rapper, and Luke Muscat of Halfbrick Studios, creators of Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride.

Talks and panel discussions are planned to cover topics important to video games including preservation, the rise of crowd funding and the role of video games in health and education.

Game Masters – The Forum is one part of Te Papa’s first video games exhibition, which has been running since December.

Ms Stuckey says video games are form of creative expression deserving of celebration and preservation.

“They are the dominant art form for the 21st century and they are capable of exploring complex ideas in complex ways,” she says.

“They are a really important cultural artefact and are a medium for now how we interact with each other in the world.”

Video game preservation by national libraries around the world is slowly being introduced.

Since 1992, two copies of every video game distributed in France must be sent to the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.

Implementing the cataloguing of video games by the national libraries in New Zealand and Australia is something Ms Stuckey hopes to see.

“Not only do we get a copy of games but that people make an effort to preserve the source code and the artefacts so that in time to come people are able to learn more about the games that were made at particular points.”

The big anxiety around games is preserving them because they can no longer be played on current technology.

“Even though they are the most recent art form they are one of the most fragile art forms.”

The Game Masters Exhibition opened in December last year and will run until April 28.

The forum runs March 4 and 5, and its website is http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/WhatsOn/allevents/Pages/gamemasterstheforum.aspx

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