Joe Hendren

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Travels: Edinburgh

Game On: An Exhibition of Video Games at Scottish Royal Museum

Thursday January 2, 2003

Today I went to a rather cool exhibition at the Scottish Royal Museum.

'Game On: The History, Culture and Future of Videogames'

The best thing was that nearly all of the games, including the historial classics from the 80s were playable, with the only cost being the 3 admission. The only obstacle from Pacman, Space Invaders, Pong (an original machine) were the inevitable crowds. The exhibition started with SpaceWar! the first computer game from 1962.

There was also some models of early computers and consoles - you forget how small a ZX81 really is! There were Spectrums, Commodore 64s, Amigas and Atari 2600s (the jolly joysticks still stick, even after all these years). What I found most interesting was the collection of early hand held games, including a space invader game machine that looked like an oversized 70s calculator, a simon says machine, an Atari Lynx from 1989 (larger than I remembered it) and many of those small calculator sized games that were so cool when you were at primary school in the 1980s. I would have liked to have seen a BBC model B there, especially as it was the computer that gave the world Elite (Elite was later on in the exhibition represented by a vasty inferior NES version that was virtually uncontrollable). There were no Apple IIe's either, even though 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago' would be remembered by many. Many games were either running on consoles or under emulation, probably for the sake of stability.

The majority of the exhibition was dominated by later games by Sega, Nintendo, Sony Playstation and surprisingly Microsoft. One wonders if there was a cushy little sponsorship deal involved.

I ended up spending about three quarters of an hour in total playing Populas (early 90s). I was able to quickly finish someone elses game, but I went back again as I noticed that I seemed to be the only person who remembered how to play it!

A mere 3 for an afternoon of playing old computer games - it was a great use of a wet Edinburgh afternoon!