Crowdfunding Campaign Launching Spring 2024!

New York City in Video Games: 1986-1993 Exhibition

by Secret Levels

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Music by Nmesh

Secret Levels is a new art organization based in New York City that is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas. The mission is to study the intersection of video games and art as well as the cultural impact the medium has had.

For the inaugural exhibition in New York, inspired by the film documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself by Thom Andersen, examines the connections between various films and the city of LA.  NYC in Video Games 86-93 takes a look at the unique relationship the city has with video games during this era, specifically the beat em'up genre.  This period also marks the end of the golden age of American arcades giving rise to the home console wars of the 90s.   Simultaneously New York was changing as well with the 42nd Street Redevelopment project that had started taking effect during this time.
Games such as Streets of Rage and Final Fight still have a large presence in popular culture to this day.  It will also examine the present-day NY gaming community including a thriving indie developer scene and E-Sports. 

The exhibition will both showcase advertisement art and merchandise from select video games.  Along with a mix of photography and news articles of what was going on in New York at the time.   Discover how early video game development and NYC history are intertwined and how the forces of gentrification and technology aligned to create the New York that exists today.

In the wake of the pandemic, the media has had a constant obsession with New York’s “Bad Old Days''.  Can we learn anything about yesterday and today by looking at New York through the lens of the video game medium during this era?

For this to happen, we are launching a crowdfunding campaign and need your support.  There will be a full pitch video to watch and  several rewards along with the option of making a tax deductible donation.  So stay tuned for updates!   

For any inquiries, please contact: [email protected]

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