Confetti and Nottingham Contemporary exhibit student-made video games

Wednesday July 20, 2022

As the academic year reaches its end and students prepare to embark on what promises to be a summer of rest and recuperation, our Games Art students have been busy publishing and exhibiting their own video games!

The games were created to question the way we play, to bring societal issues to-the-front, and to present visions of the future. Students studying on the Industry Practice module of our BA (Hons) Games Art course created a series of eight visual novel games which examine society through the idea of play. They were exhibited at the beginning of July 2022 as part of the Assemble + Schools of Tomorrow: The Place We Imagine exhibition at the Nottingham Contemporary.

The project brief:

Described as “the most inspiring gallery in the UK” (Guardian), Nottingham Contemporary holds a range of free exhibitions, special events, and family activities for the local community. Nottingham Contemporary’s premises are a marvel in of themselves, they’re based in an elegant building sunk into a sandstone cliff with modern art galleries, a learning area and a café. They are a registered artistic and educational charity and benefit from public funding provided by Arts Council England and Nottingham City Council. Nottingham Contemporary approached our Games Art team with a brief for eight teams of budding Confetti Game Artists.

The project brief encouraged teams to propose a view of the world through the lens of childhood, with the child’s own experiences of play used to inform how they understand and interact with the society that surrounds them and to explore perspectives and experiences of marginalised identities. The script for each video game was written together with students of the NTU Creative Writing ‘Freelancer’ module, offering a fantastic opportunity for collaboration across different courses within Nottingham Trent University. If you are wondering how Confetti fits within NTU, consider us one of its many Academic Schools, like the Nottingham School of Art and Design or the Nottingham Business School.

The value to students:

We caught up with one of the students involved, Billy Thomas, to find out how the project has benefitted him, he said:

“Being able to understand the intricacies of working on a game has given me insight on what I might be expected to do in the industry. While I plan on being an artist of some kind, I also found that creating code for a game can be rewarding in its own way; it has taught me not to focus purely on a single area, and instead to broaden my horizons on what is possible after completing the course.

“I feel much more confident in my abilities, as I became responsible for more elements as time went on. What started as a character design role soon involved coding, prop design and even sound design. I was able to branch out and complete several roles to a high level, with the feedback from both peers and Andy Batson coming back really positive. This enforced the idea that I can work on projects that at first seem incredibly daunting and create something great, something I should remember when starting to seek employment after the course”.

A word from Nottingham Contemporary:

“Working with the students was a real joy. They were given quite a complex brief, which they answered with energy and creativity. The games they built engaged with the idea of play as a form of critical understanding of the world. It was a pleasure to exhibit the games in our building and to work in partnership with Amelia and her students.” – Andy Batson, Head of Audiences & Partnerships at Nottingham Contemporary

Future gamechangers:

The success of this project follows an exciting collaboration between our Games Art degree course leader, Amelia Roberts, and Nottingham Contemporary’s Youth Collective, 1525. Gamechangers 2094 utilised storytelling, world-building and videogame development to build a videogame focused around themes of sustainability in the future. Borrowing from sci-fi as well as role-playing games, this project collectively reimagined the role of culture and the art gallery in Nottingham at the end of the 21st century.

Amelia and two of our talented Confetti alumni, Conor Judge and Sam Warrington, hosted a series of five workshops where members of the Collective between the ages of 14 and 25 produced a visual novel game set in the year 2094. In the game, Nottingham Contemporary is at the centre of one of the last remaining strongholds of civilisation. Atop of this building stands the major oak – a sanctuary for the citizens of a future society. This project was completed as part of Future of Futures an immersive year-long research, engagement and artistic project led by young people and was live-streamed overlooking the city in February earlier this year.

Want to be involved in projects like this next year? Check out our range of Games Art courses at both college and degree-level. Like what you see? Book your place on an upcoming Open Day.