Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt review

4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)
Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt review

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

On hearing the title of this exhibition, you’re either going to think: What a great excuse to play eight more hours of Journey, just to re-familiarise myself with the NPCs, or: What? Video games? Like Pac-Man?

Admittedly, the first few rooms of this show about the culture and history of video-gaming feel like a fanfare that can only be heard by die-hard gamers. It walks you through all sorts of scene-development processes, early prototypes and character sketches that might leave you a bit ‘Oh, cool’ – in modest awe at the intricacy and skill it takes to create a smash hit.

But just before you get thoroughly bamboozled by all the tech and hit eject, you’re met with a wave of noughties nostalgia: Tamagotchis, Nintendo DS games, Minecraft… From then on, it’s a multiplayer party – everyone’s invited.

The show also guides you through the intriguing political and social conversations surrounding the industry, like ‘Why are video games so white?’. And you get to play ‘How do you do it?’, the premise of which is to engage an 11-year-old girl’s dolls in sexual activity as many times as you can before her mum sees.

But then, you get what you really came for: the chance to be let loose in an arcade full of games you’d otherwise never, ever get to play. You emerge feeling how Tom Hanks did after frolicking in that Fifth Avenue toy store in ‘Big’. Maybe this isn’t just a gamer’s paradise after all. If you had doubts at the start, you’ve been won over: you’re a fanatic too now.


Users say (8)

3 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

2.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
2 people listening

This was hugely disappointing. I like the idea but as a hardened videogamer in another life, I felt there was so much missing from this exhibit. High on the novelty concepts but lacking a lot of what makes videogames fun, most of the playable material is either obscure or will bore you to tears. I really can't work out who this is aimed at as, aside from some unique artwork and perspective, there isn't much to absorb the hobbyist and yet it remains abstract enough to disengage non-gamers. 

A head scratcher. I wouldn't recommend it. 


This exhibition provides a unique, often fascinating insight into the evolution of video games. This is very much focused on recent history and the coming years.

It’s very interesting to see how video games are created and brought to life.

There’s some really expansive exhibiting which helps as well but I would’ve liked more interactive displays and especially some video games to play.


Not a huge fan of videogames so thought this would be a good opportunity to learn a little more. It wasn't what I expected at all to be honest, initially it takes you through the design of games, then the social impact the games have etc, until at the very end there is finally a chance to play some arcade style games. Even then, the games were not really "fun". You could easily get through the exhibition in approx 30mins unless your a videogames superfan. Would have liked it to be a little more interactive and more of a chance to play classic games that remind you of your childhood!


Really interesting and immersive exhibition about the evolution of video games over the decade. A bit niche if you're not a big video games fans. 

The 1st part focused on innovative games which changed the world of gaming through their process of creation, design, and story.

The 2nd part is based on the sociological aspect of gaming eg genders, political messages and cultural influences you can find in video games. 

The 3rd part is a screening room featuring the success of e-Sport around the world - and the last one is an arcade area where you can freely play quirky games. Unfortunately we didn't have the chance to play much the day of our visit as it was very busy. 

Overall, we enjoyed this exhibition as it was great to see the hard work that goes into each game. It would have been great to have more connections between the sections - and to have more recognizable games so the exhibition could also appeal to a broader audience, not particularly familiar with gaming.


Not sure what to make of this exhibition. I love the V & A and I love video games!

The exhibition was interesting, but felt it was lacking something. The games chosen, were random ones and not typical ones which reminded me of my childhood.

It was OK to see, but nothing special.

I attended this exhibition with really high hopes following the 'TIME OUT SAYS' review, which I feel is completely over rated for what is actually on offer.

Yes there is some detailed and interesting content into the background of design and programming, with the interview section being of most interest due to the political, sexual and gun based content.

However, I did not find this to be a nostalgic experience at all, instead bemused by the games on offer, finding them so strange and definitely not nostalgic.

The advertisement of 'But then, you get what you really came for: the chance to let loose in an arcade full of games you'd otherwise never, ever get to play' is relevant in the sense that you would never want to play these games, so very much not relevant as a positive selling point to this exhibition. I emerged with the outright thought of what a waste of time and space that was.

I really did not have the same experience as the TimeOut editor/reviewer Samantha Willis. 2/5 stars is a very generous review, 4/5 is outrageous. Sorry, but I really do think TimeOut should review the content and experience again. The one good thing TimeOut has done here is offer half price entry, the organiser should be ashamed to charge full price for this exhibition.


As a fan of the regular exhibits at the V&A this was a complete contrast but still equally interesting.

As a fan of video games it was nice to see the artwork but also the stories behind the games I play. The arcade was a fun interactive element to end on.


As someone who isn't huge on Video Games, this was a really interesting and immersive exhibition that is accessible to anyone. I would say the first section is perhaps a tad more niche, as I went with a hardcore gamer he could walk me through the individual games etc, however if I wasn't with him I would have struggled. The second section, which discusses politics within gaming, was by far my favorite part. From issues surrounding race/gender to the appropriation of guns in games, this section took on a varied approach and opened up discussion to these issues of representation within the gaming world. The final section was an arcade. Maybe because it's the weekend and therefore was very busy we couldn't get fully involved. However for me none of the arcade games were that appealing and possibly a let down of the exhibition.