Now Play This 2024 celebrated the festival’s first decade of exploring games and playfulness by highlighting the creative power and ubiquity of play. Led by Artistic Director Luján Oulton, this year’s theme “Liminality: Playing between worlds” was an invitation to think of play as a place both for introspection and connection. See the full line-up of exhibited games and the programme of events here, or a selection of photos from the exhibition here.

2023

Now Play This 2023 investigated one of humanity’s foundational experiences: love. The festival was slower this year, creating space for playful encounters, deep conversations and careful, open-ended making.

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2022

In 2022 Now Play This returned to Somerset House for an exhibition, events programme and ten day Design Camp, exploring the theme of Democracy and Game Design.

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2021

Our 2021 programme, led by our new director Sebastian Quack, explored the relationship between games, play and the climate crisis. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the programme was held entirely online.

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2020

The 2020 programme was led by Guest Director, Marie Foulston, and looked at games that relate to a theme of ‘Breaking Point’. Games are the aesthetic forms of systems, and this edition featured works that break or subvert them in interesting and creative ways. The IRL festival could not go ahead because of the pandemic, so we ran a special Now Play This at Home edition that you could join from your sofa.

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2019

In 2019Now Play This focused on the theme of community. Looking at games that create a community around them; at games made for a small group or even just one person; at games about the experiences of a particular community; and at different game-making communities and the work that comes out of them.

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2018

In 2018, we accompanied the exhibition running throughout with a lineup of special events for artists and game makers.

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Past Years

2017

In 2017 Now Play This moved to 7-9th April, with a core exhibition, special events and a sister exhibition Game Changers running for a month in the Terrace Rooms at Somerset House. See the exhibition lineup here and the events here.

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2016

In 2016 we ran from 1-3 April, looking particularly at games that addressed embodiment and player creativity, with a core exhibition running throughout and special events on the FridaySaturday and Sunday. See the exhibition line-up here.

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Now play this 2015 banner and sigils. Multicoloured symbols on a yellow background

2015

Now Play This began in September 2015, led by founding Director Holly Gramazio, with a three-day prototype festival running 4-6 September (exhibition line-uptalks, and special events on FridaySaturday and Sunday).

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