Videogame Arts Around the World in 2017

One of the things that keeps us inspired is seeing what other people are doing in the videogame arts community internationally — it shows us that we’re part of a growing movement of collectives and organizations that view videogames through an arts and culture lens.

We put a call out to like-minded groups for their 2017 highlights and got sixteen responses covering cities like Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, Berlin, LA, Cape Town, Austin, Paris, New York City, London, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Antwerp, Portland, Genova, Montreal & Melbourne. Enjoy!

Tel Aviv

Shalev Moran writes: “Africade is an exhibition of new games by African creators, and as far as we know is the first such display outside African countries. It was co-curated by myself, Ben Myres, and Idit Toledano who manages the African Studies Gallery in Tel Aviv where the exhibition was held. It features board, mobile, PC and VR games from Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria, Morocco and South Africa. The exhibition is coming down this week and is looking for new places to be displayed in. (More details/press release | interview with my co-curator Ben)
The second is Agility, a game-jam-as-performance-art piece we did throughout two consecutive art festivals: Print Screen Festival for Digital Arts, and then Intimadance Festival for contemporary dance. It featured artists from South Africa, Poland, Kenya, Denmark, USA and Israel, and we ‘performed’ a total of 8 evenings. The game we made, Mating Season, will be released in the coming weeks for free on PC, Mac and mobile. (More details/press release)

Buenos Aires

Luján Oulton writes: “Game on! El arte en juego presented its fifth international edition at the Science Cultural Center of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The picture above shows COREAR, the Argentinean video game orchestra performing live at the opening night. This new edition showcased over 30 video games from around the world: machinima, art games, experimental works, alt ctrl games and playable media.”


Lorenzo Pilia writes: “The Civic Game Jam series was an attempt to use games as a medium for creative liberation, activism and resistance. The themes of the 3 jams organised during the year by 2084/, and Game Design // BTK were Nature, Humans and Machines. By focusing on storytelling rather than game mechanics, limiting the length of the jam to a single day (instead of the usual 48/72 hours) and using an inclusive language in all communications, we managed to attract a very diverse crowd, with several participants creating games for the first time. (Picture by Nomi)”

Los Angeles

Tyler Stefanich writes: “Returning for its fifth year, the 2017 UCLA Game Art Festival showcased the year’s most cutting-edge videogames and interactive arts in a carnival-like atmosphere with food, drinks, huge projection screens, and live music. The Game Art Festival is presented by the UCLA Game Lab in collaboration with the Hammer Museum and featured more than 50 playable games, tournaments, machinima and more.”

Cape Town

Richard Pieterse writes: “Cape Town based punk arcade SUPER FRIENDSHIP ARCADE threw a most excellent party on Valentines Day dubbed ‘Super Romance Arcade’! The party was a hoot with a great deal of digital fondling, dating, making out and dancing going down. So much so that some of it even spilled into physical reality!”


Wiley Wiggins writes: “November of 2017 was a big landmark for Fantastic Arcade. The event split off from the annual Fantastic Fest film festival to become its own standalone event. There were 165 visiting developers, 45 curated games, 30 panels, 8 new commissioned works (6 of which showed in permanent custom arcade cabinets) and 5 extra opening night party game installations (brought by our sister org from down under, Bar SK). The free public gallery of games was packed throughout the weekend and all our events streamed live online. Fantastic Arcade is proudly curated and produced by Juegos Rancheros, the Austin indie game collective.”


Simon Bachelier writes: “Over Game was an exhibition and event program introducing political topics, societal challenges and new forms of activism through the lenses of the alternative digital game scenes. Exhibiting games with art installations, digital fictions, interactive explanations, alongside with performances, public debates, docu screening, authors lecture/interview and informal conferences — Over Game was meant to rethink the way digital games can be played and watched both in private and public while being able to arouse thoughts and provoke discussions about political and social issues.
The second pic is L’indécadence, an independent event taking place during IndieCade Europe festival in Paris without being affiliated to it. It aims to offer a temporary alternative space to marginalized creators or authors from minority groups among the indie game scenes and electronic music fields by exhibiting their works & live performances. It gathers more than 250 persons for its second edition. Pictures of the events shot by La Fille d’à Côté available here.”

New York City

Robert Yang writes: “Each year the No Quarter Exhibition premieres a selection of games commissioned by the NYU Game Center from independent game designers and developers at a free, public event. Our eighth year featured Kitty Horrorshow, Pietro Righi Riva, Auriea Harvey, and Droqen. For more videos of No Quarter Exhibitons, check out our Vimeo.”


George Buckenham writes: “Now Play This returned for its third iteration. We’re an exhibition and festival of games and playful things, held each April at Somerset House in London. A representative sample of things from this year: we commissioned Vectorpark to make Sandcastles, we had some post-apocalyptic mini-golf, and Lillian Lijn performed her 1974 work, Poem Game. It’s happening next year, too: here’s our open call.”


Iris Peters writes: “With Playful Arts Festival we ran a couple of events this year such as meetups and sessions. Playful Arts Sessions is an evening where we dive into the projects or artist practice of two different playful arts artists or collectives exploring a common theme. With themes ‘The Encounter‘ and ‘Wanderlust‘ the audience got to experience four playful, performative and interactive projects. The evenings consisted of two interactive & participatory projects, dinner and a conversation with the artists led by an expert moderator. The evenings were supported by Willem Twee kunstruimte and ’s-Hertogenbosch municipality. Check out the pictures on our Facebook and videos on Vimeo.  Playful Arts Festival is an initiative of zo-ii and Wave of Tomorrow. Pictured: ‘The Loneliness of Crowds’ by Louise Orwin & Eugénie Pastor. Picture by Tomo Kihara.”


Alasdair Beckett-King writes: “AdventureX is the UK’s only convention dedicated to narrative-driven gaming. Since 2011, we have been bringing together developers and gamers with a passion for interactive storytelling. As well as exhibiting dozens of indie games, AdventureX 2017 featured a wide range of inspiring talks and panels. One highlight was Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games chairing a panel on ‘The Art of Game Acting’, featuring voice actors Rolf Saxon, Samantha Béart, Doug Cockle and the sadly-out-of-frame Sally Beaumont (Broken Sword, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Witcher and Bertram Fiddle respectively).”


Zuraida Buter of zo-ii (Amsterdam) writes: “This year Screenshake festival in Antwerp, Belgium invited me as a guest curator to curate their Game Expo. The Game Expo was one of the main events of the festival which invited the general audience to experience experimental and expressive games made in the past year. We showed games ranging from a VR sound game exploring birth, to a physical/digital hybrid board game to a personal narrative game about a grandmother. I worked with design studio pieterbostoen for the exhibition design & scenography to create a welcoming and intimate space to experience the selection of games. More photos and info about the line-up here.”


Chad Toprak writes: “The second instalment of the Contours Exhibition, the return of Freeplay’s Parallels Showcase, and our big annual Hovergarden/SK videogame party Double Adapter. This year’s Contours Exhibition was split into two halves. The first week focused on ‘not quite games’ while the second week explored ‘personal games’. We exhibited a range of media alongside our games, including paintings, sculptures, photography, zines, installations, and other cultural gems as we feel there are more to games and games culture than just the finished product. Myself, Pritika Sachdev and Ben Turner look forward to putting together the next instalment. I hosted my first event as the new director of Freeplay this year, the Parallels Showcase! We had 11 sets of speakers present and demo their latest games live, including titles such as Untitled Goose Game, Florence, and Wayward Strand. We had a massive turnout, tickets sold out a week in advance! Finally a bunch of friends (namely myself and Andrew Brophy from Hovergarden, Louis Roots from Bar SK, and Ryan Boulton) put together our usual big party at the end of the year. This year’s was called Double Adapter. We were in our warehouse venue again, and had a great curation of videogames, installations, live music, drinks, and overall good vibes.”


Simon Bachelier writes: “Tickle My Computertois was a games exhibition held in Kassel, Germany, during the Lady*fest Kassel about ‘sensual, queer &or intimate play: practicing kinkiness in human*machine-relationships.’ The exhibition was organized and curated by artists from the Kunsthochschule Kassel including Christoph SchnerrkrisekriseNicole “Voec” with the help of Julian Palacios.”


Louis Roots writes: “XXXhibition was a collaboration between Blushbox C L T V and Bar SK, a sexual videogames exhibition taking place both at the bar/gallery space and PAXAUS. We displayed the sensual side of games to the general public and hosted the first ever erotic-themed adult area at any PAX.”


Cory Warning writes: “PIGSquad is a nonprofit organization supporting game development and indie game enthusiasts in Portland, OR. We organize game related events, networking opportunities, resources, and more! This is us at GlobalGameJam.”


Pietro Righi Riva writes: “2017 Game Happens is a festival in Genova, Italy. This is the most diverse and inclusive game event in Italy, now planning its fifth edition. The setting is also totally unique: an 18th century Italian villa!”


Paloma Dawkins writes: “Dream Circle is an multidisciplinary showcase of beautiful and edgy games, music, and experimental art from Montreal and abroad. Organized by Paloma Dawkins and curated by GP Lackey. This event series was inspired by the music DIY scene in Montreal; Montreal is a hub for commercial videogames and therefore it attracts a lot of talent, but I wanted to see more of the fun exploration that I see going on in the music scene here. ”

Want more international inspiration? Check out the 2015 post or the 2016 one. Do cool game arts stuff and would like to be included in a round-up next year? Email us!