Meet the V&A's first games designer in residence

Oscar Quine@oscarquine
Friday 24 October 2014 09:00
Science and Tech

Video gamers in the V&A?

Don’t be such a fuddy duddy. Sophia George is the Victoria & Albert Museum’s first-ever Game Designer in Residence – and she’s just put the finishing touches to her first work of art for the institution. It’s an iPad game inspired by the 19th-century textile designer William Morris’s Strawberry Thief.

Is she any good?

Yes, if anyone can take on the role of Game Designer in Residence, it’s Ms George. Aged just 24, she has a Masters in games development from Abertay University in Dundee. And after winning a Bafta Ones to Watch Award in 2012 for her first game, Tick Tock Toys, she was headhunted by the great and the good of the gaming world.

So how does it work?

Morris’ 1883 Strawberry Thief pattern, inspired by a bird stealing fruit in his garden, has become a popular design for curtains, wallpaper and even Dr Martens boots. In Ms George’s free iPad game, the fabric becomes the backdrop for a challenge in which the user sketches and colours the famous pattern by flying the strawberry-pilfering bird across the iPad screen.

Sounds good!

But for Ms George it’s more than just a game. She said: “It’s very important to me that families play games together, that games are designed for older people to engage with technology, and that girls and young women see game art, design and programming as real career options for them.”

Are her bosses happy?

Yep. Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee, partners in the Residency, said: “Taking inspiration from design of the past to produce new innovative design is at the heart the V&A.”

And for her next trick?

Details are sketchy (geddit?), but it will apparently centre on the works of Margaret Macdonald, wife of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and her sister Frances.

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