Feeling like a Victorian archeologist in reverse, it was with trepidation that I ventured into a darkened room deep inside the new V&A Dundee last week. The room buzzed with sound, light and the occasional burst of fury, not to mention joy.

Welcome to Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt; a high-octane exploration of the cultural importance of videogames. Here be avatars. In large quantities. I put my best virtual foot forward and prepared to be educated inside a giant sprawling playbook exploring the point at which art and design meets technology.

The second major exhibition to be staged in V&A Dundee, Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt is an updated version of a critically acclaimed show which was staged at the mothership Victoria and Albert Museum in London last year. This version has been Dundee-ified, and rightly so as the City of Discovery is Game Town – home to a thriving videogame design community, centred around Abertay University, which launched the world’s first degree in Computer Games Technology during the 1990s.

As you move through Design/Play/Disrupt, the cultural importance of a global billion-dollar industry is laid bare. An estimated 2.2 billion people play videogames worldwide, from commuters playing on mobile phones to eSports professionals watched by tens of thousands of spectators. Forget Hollywood and the global music industry – they are both dwarfed in monetary terms by video games.

You don't need to be a games geek – or even the mother of a gamer (as I am) to appreciate the artistry which goes into the creation of video games. This is the beauty of Design/Play/Disrupt.

Dundee V&A short listed for Museum of the Year

Initially, on entering the stygian gloom of the gallery, your eyes and ears start to adjust to a practical lesson in how games are designed, how they are confronting issues such as politics, race and gender, and how the future of videogames is being shaped by vast online communities, as well as tiny independent studios and collectives.

The first game the viewer takes in is called Journey. It is about as far removed from the shouty/shooty trope that games are all about violence as it is possible to be. This is clearly a statement of intent on the part of curators, Marie Foulston and Kristian Volsing.

From blockbuster games such as Nintendo's Splatoon and The Last of Us to the quirky Consume Me, a prototype mini-game by independent developers Jenny Jiao Hsia which examines body image, the narrative weaves a tale of major shifts since the mid-2000s. This choice of time frame is important. It covers an era when changing technology – from mobile phones to increasing internet speeds – transformed how games were designed, discussed and played. In the process, the visitor is guided through a vast range of objects that unpick the design process, from rough sketches and notebooks to storyboards, musical scores and computer code.

There were sketch pads and post-it heavy planning a-plenty. I even caught a passing reference to a Magritte painting, Le Blanc Seing, in magical-realist adventure game Kentucky Route Zero. Other cultural reference points in this game included William Faulkner's novel, The Sound and the Fury and a 1980s TV performance of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. There was room for fun too. Fiddling with a console, I managed to make a granny dance in The Graveyard (before losing her stage left in the cemetery – hate it when that happens).

The three areas of the title are fashioned into a vast interactive and instructive visual narrative. Visitors emerge from the design section, via a bank of colourful screens. An installation commissioned by the V&A for the London show by independent developers, Squint Opera, this presents a tiny sample of the 18 quintillion "procedurally generated" planets of action-adventure survival game, No Man's Sky. My head exploded into a Millenia of particles on discovering they were created by virtual camera drones which "visited" every one of the game's planet during the development process.

Dundee V&A short listed for Museum of the Year

The "disrupt" section was probably my favourite part of the show. Much calmer, and more contemplative, it examines the role of video games as an influence on social and political thinking. Racism, gender politics, gun violence and politics are all placed under scrutiny in a series of vignettes alongside a large cinema-style screen in which prominent developers, writers and academics all talk about these subjects and their own personal experiences.

The detail in this exhibition is occasionally overwhelming and if I have a criticism, it's the fact that my visual hard-drive had started to overload by the time I reached the mini-cinema with its array of cool bean bags. On-screen, I caught a portion of a film in which the winning team of 2017's League of Legends filled a stadium in Beijing with 90,000 gaming fans and I began to long for an Americano in the cafe downstairs. A wee sit-down and then it was on to playtime in the shape of a specially-created video games arcade.

The arcade includes a wrap around mural – a major new commission – by Glasgow-based illustrator Ursula Kam-Ling Cheng. Her colourful and chaotic Girl Evader is inspired by the virtual worlds that surround us. Cheng has also incorporated designs by V&A Dundee’s Young People’s Collective and members of the public into a gorgeous new installation of PVC hangings called Ipseity Invades! It put me in mind of Alan Davie's paintings, all black outlines and retells itchy tribal energy.

To cap it all, videogames designed by Abertay University lecturer, Niall Moody (Hummingbird), and Abertay graduate, Llaura McGee (If Found by Dreamfeel), are showcased in this section focusing on the social side of games curated by alternative and independent studios all over the world. The two new games are housed in bespoke arcade cabinets designed by Edinburgh studio We Throw Switches.

With the flick of a switch, you leave the arcade and go back to "reality"; your mind suitably expanded and a few prejudices blown out of the virtual water.

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, V&A Dundee, 1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee, CC1 4EZ, 01382 411611, www.vam.ac.uk/dundee/videogames. Until Sep 8. Open daily open 10am to 5pm, £6 - £12

Critic's Choice

With its slogan Embrace the Strange firmly to the fore, the 2019 Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival will burst into life in the Borders town of Hawick on Thursday night. The 2019 edition of this internationally renowned showcase of experimental film will screen 147 moving-image works over the course of five consecutive nights in seven different venues. This includes four feature-length films, 11 shorts programmes, three guest-curated programmes, four expanded cinema performances and ten moving-image installations.

In a packed programme, 39 world premieres will sit alongside screenings and artist Q&As. The heart of the action is primarily in Heart of Hawick and Unit Four, while installations are held in former shop spaces at 1 and 5 Buccleuch Road and at 53 High Street.

Highlights include the UK Festival Premiere of Ceremony by Turner Prize nominee Phil Collins, the World Premiere of a new performance by French artist and Alchemy regular Jacques Perconte, the UK premieres of feature films by Stephen Broomer (Canada), Karolina Breguła (Poland) and Yashaswini Raghunandan (India).

There will be strands dedicated to avant-garde filmmakers Barbara Meter, Esther Urlus and Deborah S. Phillips, as well as the presence of writer, actor and director Gerda Stevenson, who will lead this year’s Film Walk on May 6 with a poem specially commissioned by Alchemy in response to Orcadian filmmaker, Margaret Tait.

The closing event, culminating in a screening of Tait’s Orquil Burn in Wilton Dean Village Hall, will be the first in the Scottish Borders to contribute to Margaret Tait 100, an ongoing celebration of the pioneering filmmaker and poet on the occasion of her centenary.

2019 Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, Tower Mill, Heart of Hawick, Kirkstile, Hawick, Borders, TD9 0AE https://alchemyfilmfestival.org.uk/. May 2-6

Don't Miss

For the next week, the work of seven talented jewellers and silversmiths from the Glasgow School of Art’s 2018-19 Silversmithing and Jewellery course will be showcase work at the CCA in Glasgow. The exhibition, hosted by the Welcome Home retail space, will include “meet the artists sessions”. Flourish will head to Australia in September to be part of Craft Victoria's radiant Pavilion programme. One of the featured artists is Andrew Fleming, who designed medals for the recent European Athletics Championship.

Flourish: Contemporary Jewellery and Silver Exhibition, CCA Glasgow, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD, 0141 352 4900, https://gsapress.blogspot.com/2019/04/news-release-let-creativity-flourish.html Until May 4