Game Masters

logoThe National Museum of Scotland played host to Game Masters, an exhibition showcasing classic and contemporary videogame design. On Friday 13 February, the Museum celebrated the exhibition with a Museum Lates event, featuring music, talks, and – of course – plenty of games. It also featured a brand new crowdsourced poem!

gamemasters-headerHere are the results of all the tweets, Facebook messages, and emails I received as contributions to the poem, which was debuted at the Lates event at the Museum. This crowdsourced poem feels like a weird experience of being in a game – one that spans the decades videogames have been around. Enjoy!


Sheep makes wool makes bed
memories of sunrises
“weren’t you supposed to be in the test chamber
half an hour ago?”

“Coming Mum!”
I climb out of my corner
looking for obvious signposts
each portal a fleeting falling out of magic
the void our soundtrack.

Wandering round at the beginning
I collected stars with you
in a myriad of galaxies
sliding sidewards and arriving upright
my heart racing
we leapt, weightless
and slid in and out of realities.

I keep flexing my thoughts
waiting for memories to load up
letting the tape roll
watching coloured noise crackle and whine
just a blur, a blue flash.

Don’t talk of the rainbow islands
I thought my friends were liars until I saw it
I myself managed a few wobbly landings
but it was my brother who became a pilot.

The eldest would choose the place
the story of every younger sibling
always the sidekick, never the hero
he was light-years ahead of me
understanding exactly which bit of the map
despite the utter vagueness
and nonsense nature of the place.

“This is a short cut to the flag”
he would say
walking up a mountain through sleet and snow
exploring in the arctic
surprises off the beaten track
finally finding the cow level
completely ignoring
the terrible sound of the trumpet
that means someone has just declared war on you.

At the edge of the clifftop
the wind dying down
the sun coming out to shine
across a blue, blue sky

“You take point”
he said, then
taking arrows to the knee.
So many.
Too many.

And now they’re coming down the middle flank
in an everlasting loop
my keen Commander
voice-commands me:
“Use sword on troll.”

“Negative” I say
I mean, we all enjoy interacting
and I liked the team colours when I joined
but I had to wait
for my snarky sidekick
thinking: “I’m sworn to carry your burdens.”

I was a hooded wanderer scaling impossible walls
a hunched hero grappling tufts
and skidding feet in the dust
I jump up and hide on a rock
until the shouting stops.

Grown up now
our enjoyment rolls back the years
dinner gets pushed back later and later –
will there be cake? I implore
and once more the promises come
robotic and flawed.

Back then, you couldn’t save
and the water is rising
bringing terrors from the deep
seeing doom for the first time
and there are your lives in a line
for the spiders are marching
for all of it follows behind
the fall is forever
and enemies hover
so climb, so climb.

We worked together
to buy the best bike
only to lose it overnight –
the spectrum sunsets
from a wasted youth.

You are still on the rainbow islands
Master of people
who would probably have never met
for any other reason
the freedom when young
to finish playing
catching up on life
you play games together.

Words submitted by: @BryonyMJ, @MsWoolno, @Teaheeheetime, @SquareParticle, @clairenothelen, @StephenRettie, @KofTheTriffids, Tim @yearoneteam, Sheila Whitehead.

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