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Explore video games at Fleet Science Center

“Hang-On” and “Outrun” are two classic Sega arcade machines in the Game Changers section of Game Masters. (Photo courtesy of ACMI/Australian Centre for the Moving Image).

Explore video games at Fleet Science Center

Game Masters: The Exhibition makes its California debut at the Fleet Science Center on July 1, 2017, and is open through Jan. 15, 2018.

The Fleet Science Center announced the opening of its latest traveling exhibition, Game Masters: The Exhibition, making its California debut July 1 in the Fleet’s main exhibition gallery. Game Masters: The Exhibition showcases the world’s greatest video game designers, from the arcade era to today’s console and online games, with more than 100 playable games. No quarters required.

Explore console, mobile and PC games in the Indies section of the Game Masters exhibition. Photo courtesy of ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image).

In Game Masters, the work of more than 30 video game designers who have made a significant impact in the field is explored through rare concept artwork, newly commissioned interviews and interactive digital displays. This is the first large-scale exhibition to take visitors behind the scenes of how video games are made as well as spotlighting the people who actually make them. From Nintendo’s iconic worlds featuring Mario and Link, to the obsession that is Minecraft, to the immersive experiences of Blizzard Entertainment, this is a landmark collection of the most popular video games on the planet, as well as independent games with a cult-like following.

The 9,000 square-foot exhibition takes visitors through the evolution of gaming from arcade classics such as Missile Command and Pac-Man, to iconic console-based games featuring Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and Zelda, through today’s indie hits like Real Racing 2, Minecraft and Angry Birds. Other famous titles include World of Warcraft and The Sims.

In addition to allowing guests to experience the games firsthand, the exhibit offers an in-depth look at the designers behind some of the most popular games of all time through rare original game artwork, 2D objects and revealing interviews with game designers. The key role played by smaller independent designers in game design and development is also explored.

Created and curated by ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image), Game Masters is presented in three sections: Arcade Heroes, Game Changers and Indies.

The first section, Arcade Heroes, spotlights pioneering designers from the trailblazing and revolutionary arcade era, including Shigeru Miyamoto (Donkey Kong, 1981), Ed Logg (Asteroids, 1979), Toru Iwatani (Pac-Man, 1980) and Tomohiro Nishikado (Space Invaders, 1978).

The second section, Game Changers, focuses on leading contemporary designers who have had a major impact on shaping the medium as we know it. This includes Nintendo (The Legend of Zelda, 1986), Will Wright (SimCity, 1989), Yuji Naka and the Sonic Team (Sonic the Hedgehog, 1991), Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy (Rock Band 3, 2010) and Blizzard Entertainment (Diablo III, 2012).

The third and final chapter of the exhibition, Indies, explores the groundbreaking and future-focused world of independent game designers. Artists such as Rovio (Angry Birds, 2009), Halfbrick (Fruit Ninja Kinect, 2011) and Markus “Notch” Persson (Minecraft, 2014) are profiled in this section.

“Game Masters promises to be an amazing behind-the-scenes look at the design and history of video games, plus a nostalgic trip down memory road for some of us old enough to remember the original Pac-Man,” said Dr. Steve Snyder, CEO of the Fleet Science Center. “We’re planning to extend our hours for the summer so families and adults of all ages can visit the Fleet for Game Masters and the many other interactive science exhibits we have to offer.”

Two of the video games featured in the exhibition are from a local San Diego game developer, The Behemoth. Since 2003, The Behemoth has produced multiple critically acclaimed video games. The two games featured in the exhibition are Alien Hominid (2002) and Castle Crashers (2008). The first prototype of Alien Hominid was played online nearly 20 million times before being further developed for console release. Castle Crashers takes gamers in an entirely different direction with an action-packed, four-player adventure.

“We are excited to tour the globe with the Game Masters exhibition,” said John Baez, co-founder of The Behemoth. “We put a lot of time, energy and thought into hand-crafting our games and appreciate the recognition we’ve received from the exhibition.”

Game Masters features unique experiences, such as a spectacular multiplayer dance stage for a large-scale version of Dance Central 3 (2012), hands-on experiential music booths and a selection of 20 original classic arcade machines from the 1970s and 1980s acquired especially for the exhibition, all playable in their original form.

Game Masters appeals to audiences of all ages and abilities, from families with children to the original generation of gamers, and from the average smartphone user to the budding game developer.

Game Masters: The Exhibition will be open from Saturday, July 1, through Jan.15, 2018, in the main exhibit gallery at the Fleet Science Center. The Fleet will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily in July and August, with extended hours on Friday nights for late-night gaming.

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