Fans of video games can find out what goes into making a hit that attracts four million players at an exhibition in Coventry.
Entitled Rare: From 8-bit to Xbox One, this is the first ever exhibition dedicated to a video games company, tracking the 33-year life of Twycross-based Rare.
It runs alongside Play: An Exploration of Toys, Games & Fun, a broader celebration of the history of play which features more than 200 items. Both will be running at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum until September 23.
Rare gives visitors the chance to try their hand at some of the company’s international gaming hits – such as Donkey Kong Country – and also find out more about the planning and creation of a new video game.
Further to that, there is also an opportunity to discover what it takes to work in an industry which is proving to be a major success story for the region.
James Thomas, Lead Engineer at Rare, said the exhibition provided the perfect platform for the company to raise its profile in the local area and highlight how gaming is the latest form of play.
He said: “The company has been operating for more than 30 years and is a great success story for the area and for the industry. It began as an independent gaming business – set up by the Stamper brothers – creating and selling games for the ZX Spectrum.
“Rare, which was later bought by Nintendo and, subsequently, Microsoft, has produced some ground-breaking games over the years such as GoldenEye, Banjo-Kazooie and Viva Piñata.
“Our latest release, Sea of Thieves, has attracted more than four million players to date and has more than 200 people working on the game.
“So this is a great time to be able to share our story with people from the area because this is a really positive period for gaming in the region.
“I think many people see a distinction between traditional play and gaming but my view is that this is just the next generation and, more and more, games are becoming social activities when friends play together rather than in isolation.
“It is cementing ‘real life’ friendships rather than detracting from them which, again, isn’t something that is always appreciated or understood.
“The fact that Play is running at the Herbert meant this is a great opportunity to showcase Rare and its games, to show people what goes into making a global hit and, also, to give them an insight into careers in the industry.”
The Play and Rare exhibitions are kindly supported by Rare and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Francis Ranford, Cultural and Creative Director of Culture Coventry, said it had been a positive start to the exhibition.
Francis said: “The partnership with Rare has been incredibly positive for the Herbert and has added another exciting dimension to the exhibition. This collaboration has enabled us to showcase aspects of play which we would have otherwise been unable to and will ensure more visitors can relate and connect with the exhibition.
“We’ve had fantastic feedback so far and are looking forward to welcoming many more visitors over the course of the summer.”
To potentially feature in the exhibition, you can donate photos of your own toys to the Virtual Museum by using #playattheherbert on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
For more information on Play and Rare, go to http://www.theherbert.org/