Discover Interactive Art at Greenbelt

Discover Interactive Art at Greenbelt

A blog from Andy Robertson, curator of our InterACT programme at Greenbelt 2016 …

I could have called this Video-Games at Greenbelt, but I don’t want to put off people who “don’t play games” so I hope you’ll excuse my click bait and spend a couple of minutes reading on.

As we put the finishing touches on the sessions, games and talks for this year’s Greenbelt there’s a real buzz about InterACT — the stream of content in the Little Big Top and The Lawn that aims to put video-games in a new light.

It will do doubt attract gamers (and youngsters), but our real hope is to engage and hear from those who don’t play games as much. Whether you have children who love to game, used to enjoy games in the past or are just infuriated about this media that is now unavoidable, InterACT is a chance to break the cycle of do/don’t play.

This is a timely topic. Just today I was asked to write about it in The Mirror. The Pokemon Go craze was also a topic on Radio 4’s Sunday show where they asked whether churches should leverage their place in the game (they appear as gyms) to attract players. My response on the show was that “this was a nice first step but that churches should be more ambitious about championing video-games that have something more to say and offer.”

InterACT at Greenbelt scratches that exact itch. Rather than using games to entertain and attract youngsters, we want to play games that engage us in new ways with all sorts of topics: love, death, loneliness, immigration, loss, exploration, hope, fear, isolation, power and powerlessness.

At the talks you’ll hear from a diverse set of experts in video form, recorded exclusively for Greenbelt from professionals who have contributed to Wired, Church Times, Bloomberg, The Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC Radio 4, The National Video Game Arcade, Gamecity, Game Masters Exhibition, Cnet, Game Church, Think Christian, Thirdway Magazine (RIP), BBC One, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

If you’re still not convinced or want an early primer, you can watch these videos right now here:

Iain Simons calls parents to find better games for their families to play and make:

David Surman talks about iconic game creators and themes of ecology and emptiness:

Simon Parkin talks about the perfect justice of video-games:

Ryan Green discusses his game about faith and cancer:

Jenova Chen responds to the christian use of Flower and Journey:

Matt Nava discusses space and cross cultural communication in Abzu:

Drew Dixon discusses Game Church and with games about single parenting and immigration:

Nate Lanxon talks about the comforting nature of music in games:

Jason Rhorer talks about time, space and our limited lifespan in video-games:

In two big play session we’ll be tackling a hugely fascinating game That Dragon, Cancer. It’s created by the christian parents of a young boy who is diagnosed with terminal brain and invites us to share their journey. 

We’ll play through the whole game on Saturday and Sunday (4.30pm in The Little Big Top) together and then hear from the father Ryan about the experience of making the game and his wider faith story.

By the end of this year’s Greenbelt we will have played, discussed or seen a huge list of games: That Dragon Cancer, Pokemon Go!, Lego Star Wars, Space Team, Joust, Uncharted, Her Story, Passage, A Dark Room, Cart Life, Abzû, The Last of Us, Journey, Flower, Prune, Panza Dragoon Saga, Mario Kart, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Inside, Mega Man, Super Mario 64, Far Cry 2, Final Fantasy, Let’s Catch, Limbo, No Man’s Sky, Braid.

If you have any questions for the InterACT team you can tweet us @GeekDadGamer or with the #GBInterACT hashtag or even just text me on 07540 717270.