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New exhibit in Danville explores the world of creative gaming; ‘Gamecraft’ opens March 4

The Community Arts Center announced its newest interactive blockbuster exhibit, Gamecraft: The Art of Video Game Design. Once considered child’s play or a computer programmer’s hobby, video games have evolved into one of the most dynamic art forms today. Exhibit dates are March 4 through April 25.
Gamecraft will provide opportunities for children and adults to explore the full scope of the artistic processes to a video game, without learning computer programming. It includes artwork and installations inspired by popular video games like Minecraft, an arcade machine featuring games created by local developers, and playable games that illustrate four major gaming components of visual art (graphics and images), storytelling, music/sound effects, and the often overlooked but important elements of gameplay rules and mechanics.
Visual Art: Video games are saturated with visual art, from the earliest symbols like the ghosts in Pac-Man or the aliens in Space Invaders to today’s complex digital three dimensional worlds. In Gamecraft, the pixel is the medium or “unit of art” which visitors may use to create their own pixel art. Visitors will also learn about the challenges of pixels used by early game designers.
Storytelling: While storytelling in video games was once limited to simple plot lines such as “save the princess” or “stop the aliens,” today’s complex storylines feature professional actors and dramatic plot twists that rival cinematic motion pictures. Visitors will design their own video game storyline and develop a lead character, following the concept of the monomyth or “Hero’s Journey,” an almost universal story arc that flows throughout history and includes heroes from Moses to Hercules.
Music: Music and sound effects set the mood of video games. Simple bleeps and bloops have now been replaced with full orchestras and dynamic scores. Visitors will examine how music affects mood, and learn why video game developers choose the music that they do.
Gameplay Rules and Mechanics: Rules and mechanics are what separate video games from other forms of media. The direction of the game depends on the player’s interaction within the rules of the game. Developers design these rules to create interesting boundaries for the player to explore. Visitors will create their own game concept by making careful decisions: Can your hero jump? Fly? Swim? Do they have supernatural abilities or powers? What are their weaknesses and limitations?
“In Gamecraft, we want visitors to see video games through the eyes of a game developer,” says Brandon Long, Programing Director at the Arts Center. “There will be a few popular games on hand that they can play, but the focus of this exhibit is for visitors to use creativity and imagination to develop ideas of what their own game could be. Who knows – in a few years we could be playing a game that was first imagined in this exhibit. People are excited about video games and the limitless possibilities that they present.”
Support from local businesses keeps the cost of admission to the exhibit low ($3 to $6), enabling families throughout Central Kentucky to experience the Art of Video Game Design.
This exhibit was inspired by the heated debate in recent years among the national art community of whether or not video games should be considered “art.” It was not until the Smithsonian’s 2012 exhibit, “The Art of Video Games,” that the scales were tipped in favor of classifying video games as an artistic medium.
Gamecraft will be open March 4 through April 25, with exhibit hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $4 for children, students, and seniors; $6 for adults; and $3 per person for groups of 20 or more. For more information about the Arts Center, click here.
From the Community Arts Center

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