National Videogame Museum sells out its first weekends

The BGI launched the NVM in Sheffield on 24th November and has sold out its first two weekends.

We also had around 200 people attend our launch party on Friday night, including patrons such as Ian Livingstone, Carl Cavers, Kath Bidwell, Paul Porter, Ian Stewart and Jas Purewal, games developers like Boneloaf and (who are also exhibiting in the museum), great and good from Sheffield, and lots of new friends from the cultural sector in the city.

The Museum was buzzing over our first two weekends, with over 1,000 visitors, lovely feedback, a lot of media coverage including BBC TV live broadcasts through Friday evening, and back to back interviews for the BGI’s Director of Culture Iain Simons and the BGI’s chairman Ian Livingstone.


We had lovely reviews from visitors:

“Really enjoyed visiting on opening day. Came with my 5 year old. Liked the ‘themed’ stations of games, my daughter particularly enjoyed the music games like Electroplankton.” (Joe Boynton)

@nvmuk Reliving my gaming past at the National Videogame Museum. Trying to play The Hobbit and still stuck in a room. Brilliant place, I will be back #playthemuseum” (Angela Greenshields)

“Had a great day out at @nvmuk! Will defo be back soon!” (Lucas Holt)

“I only went to accompany my daughter but I really enjoyed myself. Loved the dance game although I wasn’t very good and playing Pac-Man and Space invaders. Nice cafe and clean toilets. Very spacious. Gift shop. Just what we need in Sheffield for retro gamers. Stayed for three hours but time flew by. Will definitely go again.” (Rosemary Clarke)

We had a particularly lovely reaction from a mother of an autistic child who said it was “the best day of his life.” She couldn’t believe that the NVM developed his favourite game, Super Snowball Fight Party.

Have you visited the NVM yet? Come and #PlaytheMuseum!

National Videogame Museum to open in Sheffield in November


The past, present and future of videogames will be available to explore at the new, National destination.

Sheffield, 15th October 2018:

The National Videogame Museum (NVM), the UK’s only permanent games museum that celebrates videogames and the people who make them, is opening in Sheffield on November 24th.

The NVM hosts scores of playable consoles and arcade machines, innovative exhibitions of studios, their games and how they are made, as well as cultural festivals, clubs for kids and parents, and a host of events. The NVM will feature unique exhibitions reaching back to the industry’s birth and forward to games still in development.

Following an acclaimed run in Nottingham as the National Videogame Arcade, the new museum will build on a pedigree of strong review scores, consecutive TripAdvisor awards and 50,000 visitors a year.

“We’ve always tried to do more than just put out games for people to play”, said Iain Simons, Culture Director of the BGI, which runs the NVM. “In our dynamic new space, we’re bringing videogame creators into the Museum to meet their players, showing visitors what games mean and responding to our community’s requests and ideas for new exhibits.”

Following the success of previous exhibitions featuring Football Manager, Dizzy and Monument Valley, the Museum is working with games companies to create new, more ambitious shows. “We’re delighted to launch a test lab with Boneloaf’s Gang Beasts and we’re talking to publishers and developers about showcasing their work to our broad audience.”

Kath Bidwell, founder of State of Play Games, said “I’m really excited about the launch of the National Videogame Museum at its brand new home at the heart of Sheffield city centre. The games industry is fantastically creative and culturally significant and now we have a great place to celebrate and embrace that.”

NVM Patron and BGI Chair Ian Livingstone CBE said “The NVM is the games industry’s own museum, celebrating our games, our studios and our sector’s achievements over 40 years. I invite anyone who cares about the cultural life of video games to join leaders from across the industry and support this amazing project with content, evangelism and funding to help expand the programme in the years to come.”

The NVM has been supported by patrons including Ian Livingstone, Andy Payne, Sumo Digital, Rebellion, Rami Ismail, Masaya Matsuura and many others over the years. The non-profit NVM is seeking help from the sector to take videogame culture to hundreds of thousands more visitors”.

Follow: @nvmuk


Notes to Editors

Press Enquiries

Alison Beasley, Lincoln Beasley PR. E:  M: +44 (0) 7966 449130

The NVM: e:

About the National Videogame Museum

The NVM is a museum that educates the public about the art, science, history and technology of videogames. The NVM celebrates videogame culture and allows the public to play most of its exhibits, which include games consoles, arcade machines and other interactive experiences, including games designed exclusively for the Museum.

The Museum displays the UK’s only permanently accessible collection of over 100 videogames as well game memorabilia, ephemera and new exhibits which interpret and explain videogames for everyone. Formerly the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham, the Museum has welcomed over 100,000 visitors, including hundreds of school visits, since it opened in 2016. The Museum presents a mixture of permanent and temporary exhibitions that are scheduled up to 2 years in advance, some of which tour the UK.
The NVM is operated by the BGI, a new national agency for games culture. The BGI is an industry-led initiative that was announced in January 2017 to win new funding for games production, culture, diversity and skills, in collaboration with new and existing partners.

For more details about the NVM, please visit:

For more details about the BGI, please visit:

Continue Annual Conference @ York Mediale

The beginning of October saw the latest in the BGI’s series of Continue events. Co-organised by Pilot Theatre and York Mediale, this ambitious two-day annual conference brought together heavyweight speakers from the games, culture and arts sectors, deep insights into some of the most creative and immersive theatre, storytelling and education projects – along with game jams, badgers, and a group of three year olds stress-testing new interfaces for gameplay and blasting into space. Typical Continue fare then!

The two days kicked off with BGI Culture Director Iain Simons discussing the importance of ‘platforms’. Looking over through the experience built up over a decade of running the GameCity festival and the National Videogame Arcade, Iain spoke about the way in which different configurations of creative constraints had created new platforms for commissioning exciting work throughout buildings, in specific rooms or across entire city centres.

The call to think about establishing new platforms for making and commissioning creative work was picked up by the NVA’s Professor James Newman who led the diverse audience of arts and theatre practitioners through their first experience of game making. Based around the unexpected – and unexpectedly inspiring – theme of ‘badgers’, eight teams spent an hour and a half of focused making, breaking and remaking as they designed, playtested and refined their creations. As well as giving rise to the most amazingly varied set of word games, puzzle games and board games, the session highlighted ways of using game mechanics to explore complex ideas (from debates around the control of TB to authenticity of ‘alternative facts’) and showcased new ways of encouraging a greater diversity of participation in gamemaking.

The morning was rounded off by a presentation by Professors Peter Cowling and Marian Ursu from the University of York‘s Digital Creativity Labs on creativity and AI. Provocatively entitled ‘Is creativity the last bastion of humanity?’, Peter and Marian began by considering whether creativity is a uniquely human trait and ended with a fascinating discussion about whether an AI capable of creating visual art or cinematic set design could ever really ‘care’ about what it was doing in the same way as an human.

The afternoon programme comprised talks and showcases by a diverse range of artists and gamemakers including Simon Will from the internationally-renowned collective Gobsquad speaking about the robot opera ‘My Square Lady’, Sarah Butcher from Non Zero One and Tom Bowtell and Elliott Hall from KIT Theatre talking about the pioneering work in immersive theatre.

Sam Barlow made a break in his hectic production schedule and Skyped in from New York to talk about the inspiration for the smash-hit game ‘Her Story’ and the process of creating an original experience based around a computer interface and the true crime genre of fiction. Discussing the perhaps surprising absence of Her Story clones, Sam spoke about the challenges and opportunities of working on the much-anticipated spiritual sequel with the support of Annapurna Interactive.

The first day concluded with Continue’s infamous ‘Panel Machine’ firing out questions on arts funding, code clubs and the U.K. computing curriculum, and opportunities for more cross-sector networking and collaboration.

Again, set in the wonderful Hospitium building in the heart of the grounds of Yorkshire Museum, day two began with the Playable Conference and it was nothing if not diverse. Virtual Reality, the UK premiere of binaural soundworks Nightmare and Sweet Sixteen, brainwave controlled movies with over 17 trillion possible narrative combinations created by the University of Nottingham’s Mixed Reality Lab, new twists on the board game incorporating mobile phones and social media, or spaceships controlled by tinfoil hats, a selection of fruit and a microcontroller were all on show – the latter being a particular hit with the group of three-year-olds from the local nursery who joined us before their alfresco picnic.

Day two continued with more fascinating talks from Invisible Flock reflecting on the challenges of developing and implementing the ambitious ‘If You Go Away’ augmented reality experience and Leila Johnston’s guide to storytelling and technology which offered insights and practical tips drawn from Hack Space and other work.

Before the Panel Machine was rebooted for the closing session, acclaimed journalist, author and now Media Molecule Narrative Designer Cara Ellison offered a uniquely personal insight into the promise of videogames as a real and virtual space within which to tell new kinds of stories. Delivering a sneak peak into one of the most anticipated PS4 titles ever, Cara demonstrated ‘Dreams’ to a rapt audience of theatre makers and artists.

And so, just as it began with a discussion of platforms for creating new work and engaging new audiences, this edition of Continue closed with a discussion of videogames and gameplay as a platform for new forms of storytelling. And again, we’re proud to have created Continue as a platform to host and showcase such diverse creative works and inspiring ideas.

Calling all arts organisations and video game creators…

Discover how to reach new audiences in new ways with Continue 2018. Leading practitioners in cross artform projects unite to exchange secrets and perspectives at the bleeding edge of multimedia storytelling and narrative.

Brought to you by The British Games Institute (BGI), Pilot Theatre and York Mediale, this ambitious two-day melting pot of ideas features industry heavy-weight speakers from the cultural and gaming sectors, open discussion and candid sharing, a micro-game jam and exclusive project demos from immersive tech to theatre.

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Continue Edinburgh Report

The final Continue event of the year before the National Conference took place earlier this month in Edinburgh. 

The fantastic setting of the University of Edinburgh Business School welcomed guests from a range of different cultural industries for the day. 

This day was particularly focussed on trying to shape some actions. As BGI culture director Iain Simons commented in his opening remarks, “by the time we get to the end of today, it’d be great to have some new ideas as to what to do tomorrow.”

Chris Speed from the University of Edinburgh’s Futures Institute kicked things off with an insightful and challenging introduction. The new Edinburgh Futures Institute where he’s based is working on some exciting new research – some of which you can read about in their site here:

Chris Speed

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Full programme for Continue Edinburgh announced

We are delighted to share the full programme for Continue Edinburgh!

In partnership with Riverside Studios, on 16th August we’ll be taking over the University of Edinburgh Business School for an action-packed day of talk and play, uncovering Scotland’s leading cultural game projects. Bringing together cultural commissioners and video game developers, Continue is about creating new opportunities in the game and culture sectors.

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Join us for Continue York on the 1st and 2nd October

1st and 2nd October  9.30am registration
Tempest Anderson (TA)  Hall, Museum Gardens, York YO1 7FR
£65 full price, £50 concessions

With ‘narrative’ as the theme for this year’s conference, York Mediale, Continue and Pilot Theatre are collaborating on a speaker line-up that includes acclaimed video game designer and BAFTA award winning creator of ‘Her Story’, Sam Barlow, artist and writer Leila Johnston, Gob Squad collective’s Sarah Thom and creative technologist Gorm Lai.

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What Happened at Continue London?

The second Continue event of 2018 took place yesterday in the illustrious setting of the British Library and in partnership with UK Young Artists. After welcomes from Roly Keating (Chief Executive of the BL) and Michelle Bowen (Director of UKYA) things got underway with a fantastically interactive session.

Continue reading “What Happened at Continue London?”