RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents, the global distributor for engineers, has demonstrated its support of innovation and education by donating 300 Raspberry Pi credit card-sized computers to be used in a new games hub, the National Videogame Arcade (NVA) in Nottingham’s creative quarter, a CNN ‘top ten attraction’ set to launch in March.
The NVA is the brainchild of GameCity, an annual festival that aims to bring games culture to a wider audience through pioneering approaches, which works in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham City Council and Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies. The launch of the NVA, which is hailed as the ‘world’s first permanent cultural centre for videogames’, will provide a video games hub with themed galleries, a changing programme of interactive exhibitions, and an educational programme across the National Curriculum whilst promoting the diverse cultural, educational, economic and social benefits of games to a broad audience.
The Pis of which 50 are new and 250 are mendable, will be used in the setup of the venue, as well as in the education programme and exhibitions to make easy platforms for showing content. They will also be used for lighting control and as part of 'Introduction to Raspberry Pi' workshops for school groups.
GameCity was founded in 2006 by Iain Simons, a creative journalist with a background in theatre and music who grew up in the Commodore 64 era, which first sparked his enthusiasm for gaming.
Iain explained: “The National Videogame Arcade is a limited company with 20 members of staff with experience across many disciplines, and will pioneer new forms of creative engagement with technology. GameCity has established partnerships with institutions such as the British Library, the Welcome Trust and Nottingham Trent University as well as the games industry. The NVA has a strong education ethos that will work to support the changes in the IT curriculum in schools.”
“The donation of the Pis is fantastic, as we have a variety of uses for them; we can offer them as a resource to resident artists, who will be creating and delivering workshops, and we'll offer their use to teachers, to help them take their new knowledge back to the classroom. We are hoping that with the ones that need mending, we may inspire groups interested in up-cycling, who are up for a challenge.”
The centre will hold a mixture of permanent and constantly-changing exhibitions suitable for all ages. It will be a ‘show and tell’ themed centre for excellence where people can play games together, learn different ways of putting input into games and have lessons in coding and design. The first major exhibition ‘Jump!’ examines the history and craft behind one of the medium’s most fundamental pleasures. The exhibits include Mission Control, a multi-player experience designed to encourage people to make games as soon as they arrive and convey the message that games are something you can easily create.
One permanent feature of the NVA will be ‘A History of Games in 100 Objects’. This interactive exhibition will map the history of videogame culture in Britain – from the appearance of the world’s first game-playing computer at the 1951 Festival of Britain, to the newest virtual reality experiences on Oculus Rift.
There will also be member only events where members can meet, network and use the centre and equipment to create games. Members will be encouraged to learn to fix and recycle, as well as experiment.
Iain concluded: “Our general philosophy is that there should be no barrier to learning, so we really want to encourage people to use our equipment during visits and workshops.”
For more information about GameCity and The National Videogame Arcade, visit http://gamecity.org/national-videogame-arcade/.