The Blank Arcade

In its third iteration, the Blank Arcade exhibit lands in Dundee, Scotland for 2016.

Understanding design as research and extending the academic program of the 1st joint conference of the Digital Games Research Association and Foundations of Digital Games Conference, the curators invited submissions of games that explore the edges of play and research. The work in this collection help answer a few key questions in games that are more effectively or more interestingly addressed through the experience of a playful artifact than through the analysis of its subject. Whether digital game or analog play design, these works remind player and audience of the value of the experiential.

These games ostensibly fill in the blanks of design or ludic experience, offering new game play experiences, highlighting spaces that are relatively uninhabited by other playful experiences or that simply remind players to play differently.

The curators for this event selected 8 submissions from a pool of 57 works. The exhibit runs from Wednesday the 3rd of August and run through Friday the 28th of October at the University of Abertay Dundee's Hannah Maclure Centre in Scotland. Selected games will be available for play by conference attendees and the visiting public.

The event is sponsored by Abertay University in Scotland and the American University Game Lab in Washington, DC USA.


Blank Arcade Book CoverThe experience of a computer game exhibition has evolved with the medium.  In the 3 years we have organized the Blank Arcade exhibits we have endeavored to integrate the themes of the Digital Games Research Association’s annual conference with exhibition selections.  This 2016 exhibition takes into account both the themes and the practical experience of the conference.  As the first jointly offered event, combining both the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) conference and the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG) conference, 2016 marks an important year in games research.  The history of the FDG conference has largely focused on technical research, while DiGRA had emphasized the game studies and humanities informed practices. Unsurprisingly, this dichotomy between the human and technical has shrunk.  Both conferences evolved to include more of the elements of the other, bringing more technical work into the DiGRA community and more game studies informed work into the FDG community. With more than a decade between the conferences, this first joint conference marks a clear maturation.

Into the middle of this former dichotomy springs Blank Arcade with a collection of creative practice through technical implementation.  Blank arcade is maturing in its own right.  Thanks to support from the Hannah Maclure Center, Abertay University and the American University Game Lab the exhibition will be running for its longest period – August 3rd, 2016 – to October 28th, 2016.  It has also experienced its most selective year. The curators were only able to select a mere 14% of the submissions.

Both the submissions and the selections represent a globally curated event, spanning not only the national, ethnic and gender diversity of artists, but also the thematic and experiential.  In selecting this work we aimed to provide a glimpse into contemporary ludic creative practice.

The 8 works selected represent a range of the ludic art practices within games.  The selections represent emerging practices in playful physical computing and traditional screen based play. They include polished experiences that mimic the attributes of commercial play, but they also include retro-aesthetics that share significant qualities with hobby computer graphics on a Commodore 64.  The selections range from the very personal to rather universal.  They remind us of the feeling of tactile touch not just through video game buttons, but through fabric as well.


Emilie Reed, Lindsay Grace

2016 Selected Works include:
  • Pol Clarissou
  • Orchids to Dust
  • James Earl Cox III
  • You Must be Over 18 to Enter
  • Johan Gjestland / Team Fugl
  • Fugl
  • Will Hurt
  • Abstract Playground AP1
  • Kirsty Keatch
  • Katakata
  • Pins & Needles (Isabella Carlsson, Jeanie Choi, Celia Pearce, Gillian Smith)
  • eBee
  • Jack King-Spooner
  • Beeswing
  • Christopher Totten
  • Lissitzky's Revenge

Selected Works

The following works are on display for the 2015 Blank Arcade


Emilie Reed andLindsay Grace

Abertay University
Abertay Student Centre
1 - 3 Bell St
Dundee DD1 1HP, United Kingdom