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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 08:45 GMT 09:45 UK
Press play to relive gaming history
Philip O'Dwyer works for State Design, BBC
O'Dwyer: Taking gamers on a journey into the past
A computer game developed for a major exhibition on the history of interactive entertainment will let you relive a misspent youth.

The game starts off with crude black and white graphics and ends with 3D colour to show how far games have come.

"In each level, we are trying to take elements of a classic game from that period and give you a feel of that period," said game designer Philip O'Dwyer of State Design.

The game has been created for the forthcoming Game On exhibition at the Barbican Gallery in London, UK. The show traces the 40-year history of computer gaming.

Graphical journey

Game on game, BBC
Game starts in black and white
The game is based on the design of classic platform games and has a simple objective: collect all the coins and advance to the next stage.

"Each level is based on a different level of graphics," Mr O'Dwyer told the BBC programme Go Digital.

"Between the levels there is also a little sequence that illustrates a key year in video gaming."

You start off in black and white with a small indistinct character which develops and turns into 3D colour later on.

As well as the transition to colour, the game also reflects the events like the introduction of bonus rounds, the advent of games that you could scroll through, and the development of transparent graphics.

Game on game, BBC
The advent of colour in gaming
"Transparency became usual with consoles like the Super Nintendo," said Mr O'Dwyer.

"The first 16-bit consoles were able to do more flashy things, like use transparent graphics for water and rain."

All the graphics in the game are based around the Barbican itself.

"The architecture of the Barbican is really modular and has a sympathy with tile-based video games when all the backgrounds are made up of little pieces," said the game designer.

The game will be available to download on the Game On website in the coming days.

Game On game, BBC
Graphics gradually improve
"The idea is that it is small enough for you to e-mail to your friends," said Mr O'Dwyer.

Game On opens on 16 May and runs until 15 September.

The exhibition looks at the creativity and influence of computer games on contemporary culture, with more than 250 interactive displays.

It also covers developments in hardware technology, showing how games have evolved as computers have become more advanced.

Video games
Console wars, broadband and interactivity
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