New York-based Babycastles has long made it its mission to bring unique and unusual independent games arcades to gallery shows, DIY spaces and educational venues, in collaboration with makers who build arcade cabinets and artists who paint them. Now, it's partnering with contemporary art festival The Armory and the Ace Hotel to present Art Games in China, a one-month pop-up arcade curated by Bryan Ma beginning March 6.
Art Video Games in China is described as "an investigation into works by Chinese game designers that attempt to break the norms and subvert the mainstream narratives of the Chinese video game industry through works focused on personal expression and values." The Ace Hotel will host the exhibition, where works chosen by Ma will be displayed in arcade cabinets painted by local New York artists.
Bryan Ma has spent most of his games industry career in Shanghai, working as a producer and a designer for 2K Games' branch there. Later, he says he became more involved with independent games through speaking, writing and events. He became friends with Coconut Island's Wesley Bao and other local indies attempting to build a scene in China.
"As I was beginning to interact more with the scenes in other developing countries, I was always struck by the uniqueness of the situation in China, as I was lucky enough to get a fairly intimate view of it," Ma explains.