System Link: Video Game As Memoir

January-March 2020

Director of Exhibitions/Curator

VGA Gallery

Video games have historically been a product catered to the player. A focus on engagement, replayability, and general entertainment value has guided design strategies that create impersonal pieces, appealing to the widest range of players possible. While film, music, writing, and other media have historically been vehicles of memoir and personal storytelling, games often maintain a trajectory as products of their audience and not their creator. The voices of the individual artists have recently begun to break through the standards of generalization in the medium, creating stories where players are able to experience the emotional perspectives of the creator. In doing so memoir games reveal that assumptions about the general audience skew toward specific perspectives, and exclude others.

This exhibition seeks to highlight those works, exploring how a range of game makers and artists have translated their personal experiences into the interactive context. Each work is designed to allow the player to understand, empathize with, and connect to other lived realities, using the participatory advantages of video games to express a story as no other medium can. The different projects showcased in this exhibition offer different answers to the question “What happens when you let the player of games into your story?”

The exhibition was hosted at VGA Gallery from January to March 2020, closing early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Responsible for curation of digital and print work, writing of content, design of space, and installation of work with the assistance of VGA co-founder Chaz Evans.