Graphic Design and Animation Graduates 2012

Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.

Shaun Sims

The History of Video-Games

My aim is to provide information on the history of video-games to the masses from their early beginnings onwards; highlighting 40 influential games in the industry that shaped it and helped create what it is today. My project is based upon my passion for the gaming community with the intent of using my graphic design skills to brand and create an identity of the history of the video-gaming industry.

The key contextual references in my work are based upon user experiences as I am not only creating an informative piece of design that evokes emotion, but I myself much like the videogames I depict, are creating a meaningful gaming scenario that influences the user. This idea includes the use of a nostalgic MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) Cabinet in order to create a memorable and unique experience from the moment the user sees the project. Nostalgia reoccurs as a constant theme in my work, strongly not only influencing my work but pushing it forwards as it is not only a driving force but the end result I am trying to evoke from my users. My work not only needs to be identifiable but nostalgic to the user’s preconceived ideas they have of the design pieces’ subjects. I wanted my work to be informative in regards to the video-game industry not as a cheap gaming gimmick but an actual source of reliable knowledge. Obviously the users are not going to have an understanding of every video-game highlighted so the secondary focus is that of creating an accessible informative database for the user to not only have a unique gaming experience but gain knowledge about the history of video-games. The best way to learn is through fun. I found this to be applicable and the use of a video-game to display an informative history of video-games is the most appropriate route.

“Gaming is neither a solo experience for these gamers, nor is it temporally specific. Instead, gaming is social; it is routine, repetitive, relational, and embedded in these gamers lives. It is remembered, replayed, and re-enacted. In short, gaming is meaningful, and it is meaningful for reasons well beyond the immediacy of any single game, or momentary gaming scenario.” [1] I felt this quote summed up video-games and their true purpose, as meaningful experiences users have individually or on a social scale. This is the approach I took towards my project trying to create a meaningful experience that captivated and left a mark on the user. Initially I wanted to do this more socially however due to limitations I have chosen to make it a more intimate one on one scenario that the user leaves with a sense of nostalgia as well as new knowledge.

““The medium of video-games itself has evolved with astonishing speed, and it is still changing rapidly… It is difficult to predict what they will be like even five years from now” herein Lies the crux of the computer game medium’s irreconcilability; change is so frequent and profound; the routine taking on and throwing off of seemingly definitive characteristics; that it becomes impossible to logically and legitimately associate the games of the 1970s with those of the 1990s.” [2] Much like technology with its extreme pace for becoming obsolete the video-game industry follows a similar line. Therefor I think it is more important than ever to document the past and the present history of video-games

The original design approach with this project was following a minimalist and stencil style heavily influenced by Olly Moss, Gian Calvi, Spacesick and as well as penguin book covers. I tried to bring this approach to my design where the subject was very basic yet they were recognizable either as a memorable icon that the user had encountered once before or that they could later on remember for being so blunt; this was initially illustrated with a series of posters, which have continued to evolve. The process involved identifying singular key objects or turning points in individual video-games and highlighting and recreating those to be as identifiable and nostalgic as possible (as nostalgia is my primary context), to evoke forgotten emotions and memories the users have experienced with their past engagements in video-games.

The design style is minimalist and consists of three colours per piece, this keeps the work uniform much like the way the work is designed, there are set rules I have chosen to follow during the design process.

  • No Curves. Video-games consist of pixels and polygons; I chose to work only with straight lines to convey this.
  • Limited colour palette. A limited colour palette was essential for retaining a minimalist style and defining each generation from one another.

The process not only consisted of creating imagery that evoked nostalgia but imagery that was  also visually clever; that played with back and foreground as well as the use of negative space as these elements are a crucial part with working with minimal colours. Not only did I want people to remember these selected video games but I wanted them to remember their previous experiences they had whilst playing them. Bright and bold colours were chosen to create visual connections and make the work more vividly remembered.

With my first poster series I had been focusing on singular objects that defined or changed the chosen games. Pushing this Idea I started focusing on the game-play elements themselves; the protagonist’s, the multiple choices, the play-style. With this and the experimentation of negative space I began to develop my work further. Into something that was more unique and memorable than singular objects. Originally I had been trying to emulate as much realism as I could in the virtual gallery, until I identified one of the key aspects of what video-games symbolize; they are the exact opposite. They are a means to escape reality and to do the impossible. So a more abstract and minimalism approach was taken, towards the design of the virtual space and how it played out this fit in better with the designs. As well as with the entire user experience.

Exhibition design and virtual space have been key aspects in the design process as to how to design the virtual gallery whether it was to be a linear path in which one followed or merely an array of rooms and hallways the user can wander through. A combination of these two is what was decided on as it allowed for the user to ultimately make their own decisions but also be guided if they choose to do so. Colours are essential to the design process as I use a very limited colour palette on each work. They were originally chosen for having direct correlation with the video-game they represented, however now to keep things consistent there is a selected colour for each generation of video games starting with red referencing the many game companies of the 70s (Namco, Atari) that used red logos. The colour palette progresses naturally to convey a linear timeline. However Blue was used to represent the new millennium, a fresh new start to the video-game industry.

Throughout this semester I have been working on multiple outcomes that all interlink. I wanted to create something not only for video-game enthusiasts to enjoy but for all to enjoy. For this reason I chose to make my work accessible online as well as retaining a physical copy. Firstly my key outcome is the design and construction of a virtual gallery space that houses a series of posters depicting forty video-games that shaped the industry. For my work to truly evoke memories I felt my work needed itself to be inside a video-game. Trying to create as much nostalgia as possible I chose to physically construct a MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) Cabinet to run my gallery.

My second outcome is a publication that acts as a guide-book to the gallery space it gives a deeper insight to the pieces displayed.  It retains aspects from the virtual gallery in order to link the two. Initially it worked as a brochure style pamphlet but due to the limitations of information I could put in my virtual gallery. I felt the publication needed to be able to hold a lot more content. Later I decided to split the publication into four, one per decade of Video-game History this allowed me to be more generation specific when displaying information.


Sticking with my initial thoughts on accessibility and the need for both an online and offline presence I chose to adapt my publications into a web format that allowed for worldwide accessibility, which I made use of a jquery gallery that allowed for navigation throughout the publications. Initially due to the original one publication this experience was very linear. But now due to having four seperate publications this has been modified as to allow for more freedom in the navigation of the publications much like the gallery itself.

[1] Thornham, Helen. Ethnographies of the Videogame: Gender, Narrative and Praxis. Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate, 2011. Electronic.

[2] Ruggill, Judd Ethan., and Ken S. McAllister. Gaming Matters: Art, Science, Magic, and the Computer Game Medium. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama, 2011. Print.

Shaun Sims // 1369783


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