V&A Gaming Exhibition

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Among Kate Moross’ many loves and inspirations are games and gaming. As a new V&A exhibition ‘Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt’ is due to open on 8 September, we thought this was a good time to ask Kate about their ongoing fascination with the form. And, if you’re interested in knowing more about the V&A exhibition, you’ll find it here: vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/videogames

Did you grow up as a gamer?

Sort of. My brothers were really into the ‘80s consoles like the Sega Megadrive and the Super Nintendo. So I watched them kill all the bosses, and I only ever played Green Hill Zone on Sonic, because I couldn’t beat the bosses.

Where did you first play games – on a computer, Gameboy or console?

Consoles were a big part of our lives. Two brothers need two-player ability. I was more into PC games as a pre-teen, so I spent a lot of time in my dad’s study playing Broken Sword, Solitaire and other weird early PC games like Dogz & Catz and Micro Machines.

Where are you most likely to play a game now?

I have a PS4, a Nintendo Switch and an old X-Box. The Nintendo Switch is amazing. We played Super Mario Kart all Christmas.

So, what was your first console?

The first one I remember my brothers owning was a Sega Master System.

What was the first game you loved?

My first true love was The Sims. I lived for that game. I think it’s one of the greatest games ever made. Officially, it’s one of the best-selling games of all time. I would play it for hours and hours and hours. I used to save up to buy all the expansion packs. I knew all the cheats, (rosebud, motherlode etc). I think of it so fondly. I even learned how to hack into the game folders to install patches and weird cheats. I learned how to open the texture files for the 3D files so I could edit them. There was a huge fandom and it was early internet so you could download stuff online. There was even this online mall where you could download outfits and furniture. It was all bootleg, but it worked and it made the game feel infinite.

Do you favour a certain type of game?

I like simulation and strategy games the most, and I learned a lot from that genre of game. Like Sim Ant, Sim City, Theme Hospital, Theme Park, Roller Coaster Tycoon, the list goes on! Most are business strategy, balancing factors, and then you get to design stuff too. Basically, what I do now but in real life. I also played a lot of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater from the age of 13 all the way through university. That is a truly beautiful game.

And what games do you like to play now?

I still play a lot of those nostalgic games as they have been re-released for mobile or via Steam on my laptop.

Do you get much time for gaming these days?

Not enough. I don’t play regularly but I will binge a new game like Civilisation or RCT during a holiday or bit of down-time.

How big an impact do you think the look and style of games has had on your own design aesthetic?

I think I got a lot from SimCity and The Sims 1 which were all isometric view games. A lot of my earlier work was drawn using isometric grids. I have always loved the colours, characters and typography. Though my work tends not to include any reference to these, there is, of course, some influence in there somewhere.

Have you incorporated game characters into any of your designs?

Not specifically, but I love Sonic. He is my favourite character of all time, so he features a lot on my Instagram and in my wardrobe.

Will you be going along to the V&A gaming exhibition? What are you looking forward to seeing there?

Yes, I’d love to see some really cutting edge stuff there. I really want to try out some simulator games where you walk on a 360° treadmill.