Retro gaming at the Science Museum

As a fan of everything Retro, I visited the Power UP exhibition at the Science Museum in August. When I walked in it was incredible to see and hear 40 years of gaming history spread out in yellowing plastic before me. The event was huge, perhaps 200 assorted consoles and home computers, all playable.

Watching all these people playing games, with parents who grew up in gaming culture now introducing their kids to their own personal gaming history, I was struck by how much gaming culture and history there is, how important it is to so many people, and how practically everyone could find something they could engage with. SNES Mario Kart still has the best Battle Mode in any of the many Mario Kart games over the years, and four player Bomberman is still perhaps the best couch multiplayer games ever made. My strategy is still to wait around until the other players kill each other, then come out to finish off the winner!

From a technology geek point of view, the progress of games from early Pong machines up to a 16 player Halo multiplayer was on show, and it was encouraging how much some of the earlier stuff still had the power to hold many of the younger visitors’ attention.

Sadly, at the time of writing, the exhibition has finished. I think there’s clearly a need for a permanent videogames history exhibition in the UK. If it happens, I hope it’s as well curated and attended as this one. Gaming history and culture deserves it!

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