It’s that time of year when Tokyo based game culture shop METEOR hosts their annual My Famiscase Exhibition, an art show unlike any other, featuring custom Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge designs. Entrants not only design original artwork, but also the creative concept behind the imagined video game. This year’s show marks the exhibitions 10th year and features talent from across the globe. It’s an interesting mishmash of video game culture and design with a unique twist on the traditional gallery experience.
The annual showing runs the month of May and features original designs imagined by artists, graphic designers, and illustrators, but also dancers, writers, musicians, game designers, and many others. As a result, the art ranges from very clever design to down right silly—an entertaining mix, no doubt. The designs and the games they represent don’t actually exist, they’re imagined concepts. To me, this is where My Famicase Exhibition’s charm lies as it’s an offering unlike others, pairing visuals with creative concept and narrative.
For example, take my favorite from this year’s show, the work of talented graphic designer, Cory Schmitz. Entitled “Children”, the design reflects Schmitz’s iconic style, often minimalistic and of a select palette. While the imagined narrative of Schmitz’s game provides a glimpse into something greater: his overarching creativity. The idea behind the game sounds awesome, it’s fresh and hinges upon a twist commenting that comments on modern times—demonstrating that My Famicase isn’t just cool art but also cool creative, and a reminder to the importance of an idea to encompass the execution.
The labels are designed, printed, and affixed to actual NES cartridges. The result is a pleasing mix of all sorts of colors, illustrations, and concepts. All the art and game concepts can be viewed in the online gallery here (featuring work from years previous too) and here. You’ll gleefully lose an hour or two bookmarking portfolios while treating yourself to some interesting designs. But be warned, you’ll also feel a sense of remorse that none of these games exist—some of the concepts are outstanding.
My Famicase is open to entries yearly. This year’s cut off was March 31st (so you can start working on your 2015 entry now). If you’re eager to get started, artworks must be completely original and cannot use existing copyrighted characters or assets. Works can be submitted by individuals or a team of artists, but only one submission is allowed per entrant.
For those of you lucky enough to be in Tokyo this month, the exhibition runs till May 31st and is located in the METEOR game culture shop, Kichijouji, Tokyo.