This summer, the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) invites Atlantans and visitors alike to explore the world of video game design at its latest exhibition, Level Up: Pixels, Play & Progress, through Sept. 22, 2023.
Collaboratively curated and designed by the MODA staff, the exhibition delves into the evolving and immersive form of storytelling in video games, from how game designers empower players to shape their own stories to how video games are redefining the boundaries of storytelling, fostering empathy, and inspiring positive action. Featuring 20 video games on display, MODA visitors will have the chance to interact with and play almost every game.
“Story has always been a powerful tool for connection, empathy, and social change,” said Laura Flusche, Executive Director at MODA.
“What’s fascinating about contemporary video games is how they blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds, and leverage design, technology, and storytelling to bring people of all backgrounds together to collaborate. Game designers are taking on big challenges in their work – things like self-awareness, activism, generational healing, climate change, social impact, emotional intelligence, and more. Level Up: Pixels, Play & Progress gives visitors an opportunity to see how it’s all possible.”
Featured games in the interactive exhibition include Before Your Eyes, a VR game about a recently deceased soul who embarks on a journey through his life’s most significant moments. The game employs eye-tracking technology, which monitors the player’s eye movements and registers blink as the signal to transition to the next scene or progress the narrative. The deeply introspective tale, combined with an innovative blink mechanic, encourages players to reflect on
their own lives and the fleeting nature of time. Additional games include Dot’s Home, a single-player game where Dot, a young Black woman travels through time to key moments in her family’s history to see how individual decisions have a long-lasting collective impact; Eliza, a visual novel that lets players peak into the inner workings of an AI counseling app; Endling: Extinction is Forever, a game that has players embody the last fox on Earth in a rapidly changing environment; and many more.
With almost two dozen video games included in the exhibition, visitors are invited to take their time experiencing each game or follow self-guided, themed tours through the exhibit created by MODA. The themes include Diverse Stories, a tour of games designed to create inclusive playing experiences; Nature’s Narratives, which explores the games that center climate change, the natural world, and human impact on the planet; Byte-Size Biographies, a tour through video games that encourage introspection and self-discovery; Family-Fun, a self-guided tour of family-friendly games; and even Staff Favorites, which explores the favorite video games of each MODA team members involved in curating the exhibition.
In celebration of Pride Month, MODA will host GAYmers: Game Night highlighting the video games featuring queer and LGBT themes and characters and treating guests to a drinks reception plus trivia. MODA is also offering private guided tours for groups or organizations.
Level Up: Pixels, Play & Progress is open through Sept. 17, 2023. To purchase tickets and learn more about the exhibition, visit museumofdesign.org.