World’s first cultural centre for gaming to open in UK in 2015



GameCity has announced that it will open the world’s first cultural centre for gaming – the National Videogame Arcade – in March 2015.

The National Videogame Arcade (NVA) is being launched to address the need for a home for digital creativity. The National Videogame Arcade will offer a hub for videogame culture with its public programmes, education programmes, archive and research, in the same way that the British Film Institute offers a dedicated space for film. NVA will aim to inspire and empower games-makers of all ages and backgrounds and to celebrate the UK’s unique heritage as a world-leading innovator in games development.

Since 2005, GameCity has worked to bring videogames to the widest possible audiences through the GameCity Festival and GameCity Prize. Its aim: to celebrate games as accessible, cultural, visionary and enduring pieces of work made by creative people with diverse skills, ambitions and imaginations.

The £2.5m project will officially open next spring, supported by leading partners Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham City Council and the Nottingham Technology Grant Fund, and the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies.

The National Videogame Arcade will be housed in the former home of The Midland Group, once an important centre for the visual arts in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, Hockley. “Nottingham City Council, negotiating the lease on the building and ensuring that grant funding was accessed, was instrumental in GameCity’s ability to locate the project in the City as an important new addition to the Creative Quarter.

Set across 5 floors and 33,000 square feet, NVA will feature:

• four gallery floors, which will exhibit themed quarterly exhibitions featuring new and specially-commissioned works. These interactive exhibitions will illuminate both game-making practice and player experience
• a floor dedicated to education, where students of all ages can get hands-on experience of game-making
• a permanent exhibition of treasures from the National Videogame Archive. Run in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University and the Science Museum, the National Videogame Archive is the UK’s national collection of video game history and ephemera, with over 12,000 objects

The NVA will act as a research hub for videogame culture – a catalyst for investment in new forms of digital interactive works, both locally and nationally. Through all its activities, NVA will work to make digital creativity accessible to everyone; to inspire and develop the game-makers of tomorrow.

Over the coming years, GameCity and the National Videogame Arcade will forge exciting collaborations with cultural and academic partners, in the same way that GameCity has done for several years with The British Library in its “Off the Map” game-making project.

The announcement comes during the GameCity Festival, “the Sundance of the gaming world” (The Times), now in its ninth year. Festivalgoers will have a chance to experience some of what the new centre will offer, with an exhibition showcasing the creative process behind the beautiful, handcrafted and UK-developed puzzle game Lumino City. The Festival also features workshop sessions and public talks from internationally renowned game-makers such as Professor Richard Bartle, creator of the world’s first virtual world, MUD.

A highlight of the festival will be the announcement of the GameCity Prize winner by Jury Chair Samira Ahmed on Wednesday 29 October. The prize aims to put gaming on the cultural agenda by highlighting the power of videogames as an expressive form, and is judged this year by a jury including Darren Aronofsky, the Director of Black Swan; Gemma Jackson, Emmy Award-winning Production Designer for Game of Thrones, and Peter Gabriel. Previous winners include Minecraft (2011), Journey (2012) and Spaceteam (2013).

The GameCity building will close to public directly after the festival, in order to undergo refurbishment ahead of the grand opening of the National Videogame Arcade in March 2015.

Speaking from the GameCity Festival, Director Iain Simons comments:

“For the first time ever, a civic, cultural and academic space will be dedicated to the public’s relationship with videogames. GameCity is a place for people to play together; to discover and create games regardless of age, gender or background.

We believe that games should be played by everyone, and that games should be made by everyone. Our accessible city-centre location is a crucial expression of that aspiration.”

GameCity Advisor and author of the Next-Gen report, Ian Livingstone CBE, adds:

“For the millions of people who love them, it’s only natural that videogames should have their own, permanent cultural home. Just as fine art enjoys the National Gallery, performance has the National Theatre, and film and music have many permanent spaces that celebrate them – it’s fantastic news that GameCity are pioneering this vital and much needed new space.

“Videogames have an important role to play in our economy, our education policies and our cultural lives – so whilst it’s taken a long time to arrive, I can’t wait to visit the first ever National Videogame Arcade, and I am absolutely delighted to sit on its executive advisory board.”