An exhibition of rare, soon-to-be-auctioned video game art is on display at London's City Hall this week, as part of this month's London Games Festival. The work, which has been donated by games developers and which is to be sold off in aid of the charity SpecialEffect, includes a number of one-off canvas prints of digital renderings from recent triple-A titles such as Batman: Arkham City, Guild Wars 2 and Dishonored. Concept art and box art from older titles and mobile games are also in evidence. Having dropped in to see the work on show, here are a few of our favorite pieces.
With 2011's Batman: Arkham City, Rocksteady Studios maintained the extremely high level of production that it set two year's before with Arkham Asylum. Of the art associated with the triple-A titles on display, Arkham City's is arguably the most iconic.
Though a digital painting of Lee Oliver's unsettling Donnie Darko-esque Rabbit Head is a high point of the exhibition (Arkham City fans will know precisely what I'm talking about), Kan Muftic's Batman v Penguin trumps it for me, as a piece of work you'd be happy to hang on your wall. Unlike Rabbit Head, you don't need to be familiar with the game to know what it's about.
Rather more lighthearted were the works donated by PopCap Games. These included boss concept sketches from ball-spit-em-up sequel Zuma's Revenge!, though my own favorite were these shambling funsters from Plants vs Zombies.
Without question, the monotone vector graphics renderings by Quartic Llama's Tom deMajo for the indie studio's color-matching game Moeba were among the most beautiful work on show. Now all I need to do is track down a Bada OS mobile device so that I can actually play the game.
Bringing the exhibition bang up to date was artwork donated by Arkane Studios from recently-released darling of the gaming press, Dishonored: a most welcome surprise. The art style of the character portraits is unmistakable, even as you descend the curving ramp to City Hall's lower ground floor housing the exhibition. Despite that, my favorite pieces from Arkane do not directly relate to the game, but are instead promotional works for its UK release, depicting a re-imagined take on London's Shard skyscraper, as if it had been airlifted from Dunwall by some vulturine, steam-powered flying machines and lowered into London.
All this is in aid of the charity SpecialEffect, which, through technology, seeks to make leisure activities such as video games more accessible to people with disabilities. The charity has devised a program it calls the Loan Library, which provides specialist gaming control equipment to enable those with severe physical disabilities to play video games.
The exhibition at London's City Hall runs all week until October 26.
Source: London Games Festival
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