Tuesday, May 24, 2022
May 24, 2022

Linkedin Pinterest

More than just a game

Exhibit looks at how video gaming has influenced modern society

By
Published:
4 Photos
Chris Waits, used under Creative Commons License 2.0 
 Kids experience "Mario Kart" on the Wii gaming system. The game expanded the interactivity for players through a virtual driving wheel.
Chris Waits, used under Creative Commons License 2.0 Kids experience "Mario Kart" on the Wii gaming system. The game expanded the interactivity for players through a virtual driving wheel. Photo Gallery

What: “Game Changers: Video Games as Innovation” exhibit, events and tournaments looking at the 40-year history of video games.

Where: Nouspace Gallery & Media Lounge, inside of Angst Gallery, 1015 Main St.

When: Opening night and reception 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 6; continues noon to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, March 7 to 28. Check website for list of special events and tournaments.

Cost: Free. Some events require pre-registration.

Info: dtc-wsuv.org/gamechangers/

Dene Grigar became a gamer in the 1970s, after she and a friend tried playing “Pong” in her living room for the first time.

Since then, Grigar, director and associate professor of creative media and digital culture at Washington State University Vancouver, has only grown more fascinated with games and how they impact us as individuals and as a society.

She noticed those impacts even in the early days of flicking the small white digital ball back and forth across her screen.

What: "Game Changers: Video Games as Innovation" exhibit, events and tournaments looking at the 40-year history of video games.

Where: Nouspace Gallery & Media Lounge, inside of Angst Gallery, 1015 Main St.

When: Opening night and reception 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 6; continues noon to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, March 7 to 28. Check website for list of special events and tournaments.

Cost: Free. Some events require pre-registration.

Info: <a href="http://dtc-wsuv.org/gamechangers/">dtc-wsuv.org/gamechangers/</a>

“I remember thinking to myself that it was weird to be actively playing (‘Pong’) on what looked like a TV, instead of passively watching a TV show,” she said. ” ‘Pong’ gave me agency to make something happen in a way that TV shows did not. At the time, it did not occur to me that it was changing the way I saw the world, but it did.”

Grigar, her assistants and students have set up a new exhibit at Nouspace Gallery & Media Lounge, inside of Angst Gallery, that aims to show others just how strongly gaming has influenced modern society.

“Game Changers: Video Games as Innovation” aims to be both educational and fun. It will highlight the importance of games such as “Pong,” “Ms. Pacman,” “Tetris,” “Myst,” “Portal” and “Dance Dance Revolution,” among many others.

“Each work selected for the exhibit represents one that impacted our thinking and behavior in some significant way,” Grigar said. “So, the exhibit does not celebrate the beauty of games or try to make a case for how cool they are, but rather it argues that they have contributed greatly to who we are today in the 21st century — and that they have influenced all aspects of our lives, from health and medicine to business, communication and education.”

One example of how the evolution of games has changed the way Grigar thinks is the transition from “Pong” in the 1970s to “Tetris” in the 1980s.

“Pong” was limited by the edges of the screen it was played on. “Tetris” went beyond the perceived screen edges, adding new possibilities and potential.

“It felt like we could move in infinite space,” Grigar said.

And after designing objects on an early Apple Macintosh computer, with scrolling edges, she again noticed that the digital world had changed how her brain worked.

“Years later, when I tried to go back to designing on paper, I couldn’t,” Grigar said. “The limits of an 8.5-inch by 11-inch space stopped me cold. My brain was already oriented to the space computers made possible.”

“Myst” was another step in our evolution, making games a truly interactive multimedia experience, said Kate Palermini, assistant curator for the exhibit.

“We were looking for innovative games that changed the way we are as people,” Palermini said. “And in Game Changers, all the exhibits are interactive and can be played, so you can experience them for yourself.”

“Myst” also had a big influence on Grigar, who said it was her favorite game of all time.

“When it hit the market in 1993, it was unbelievably mind-blowing,” Grigar said. “The graphics were gorgeous, the play was intellectual, the experience was participatory. I still have my copy of “Myst,” and I also have the Bondi Blue G3 iMac to play it on.”

The exhibit also includes several associated events throughout the month, such as a Hackathon from noon to 6 p.m. March 7, and tournaments from noon to 5 p.m. March 20 and 21 for “Super Mario Kart” and “Dance Dance Revolution,” respectively.

“We’re working with some local businesses to have gift cards as prizes for those,” Palermini said. “This is open to everybody. It’s meant to be an exciting exhibit that’s open and fun.”

Game Changers will also look at the future of gaming — and how adding a stronger sense of human touch could change the way we grow with technology once again.

“I have noticed … a longing for a reconnection with physical objects,” Grigar said of the next stage of the gaming evolution. “People want to own objects again, touch them, interact with them, make things with them. So I think we will see games that involve the physical in a more obvious way than we have in the last 10 years.”

Those changes are already starting, Palermini said.

“The future really is virtual reality, and games like ‘Oculus Rift’ are an indication of that,” Palermini said. “It really is amazing to think of where things will go from here.”

Support local journalism

Your tax-deductible donation to The Columbian’s Community Funded Journalism program will contribute to better local reporting on key issues, including homelessness, housing, transportation and the environment. Reporters will focus on narrative, investigative and data-driven storytelling.

Local journalism needs your help. It’s an essential part of a healthy community and a healthy democracy.

Community Funded Journalism logo
Loading...