Close to two weeks ago, I took the day off and Lady Combustion and I went to the Museum of Science and Industry here in Chicago to see the Game On Exhibit. It is a limited exhibit that documents the history of video games. I, having been a fan of video games literally since their invention, had to check this out to see some stuff from my youth, and to see what they’d omit. Oh yeah, and to play some games!
I snapped a couple pix on my crappy cameraphone and Lady Combustion took a few on her digital camera. For some reason, I was a dumbass and didn’t think to pack my digital camera.
The exhibit is broken up into different sections that they called “levels” that shows a point in time in the history of the video game. It started with the arcade, and they had about a dozen old coin-op games on display set to free play. Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Space Invaders Deluxe, Galaga, and others were there and most of them worked pretty good.
MXV playing Missle Command for the first time in many years
For some reason they had a Vectrex on display with the coin-op games. It was near some info about vector graphics. I actually have one of those. They also had the 3D imager for it on display in a separate case full of controllers and various gimmicks.
More after the jump
They then go onto the various home systems and computers throughout the years starting with the Odyssey and Atari 2600. I didn’t notice any Bally Astrocade, Intellivision, Colecovision, Fairchild Channel F or Atari 5200 on display but they did have some cool stuff like various Commodore and Texas Instruments computers.
They had a special wall devoted to laser disc games, or more specifically, Dragon’s Lair! Sadly they didn’t have a Dragon’s Lair machine on display. I guess either they couldn’t locate one, or didn’t think it would stay running for the duration of the exhibit (they were prone to break down a lot due to the crappy nature of those old laser disc players). On the wall was various stages of the animation cels and sketches along with production notes, etc. It was one of the highlights for me as I am a huge Dragon’s Lair mark.
They then go on to show the second boom of video games such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, and Atari 7800. They even showed some not as common (at least here in the US) stuff such as the Famicom (the Japanese version of the NES)
Mixed in with the console stuff was two more arcade games, and a couple of real gems at that; Star Wars and Discs of Tron!
As you progress further you get to the new stuff like the Playstation, Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, etc. They also have a wall dedicated to the various Golden Tee Golf arcade games and another one with such gimmick controlled games like Dance Dance Revolution, Steel Battallions, and that Donkey Kong bongo game. Around the same area is a couple tables and displays with various handheld systems such as the old Nintendo Game and Watch games, Microvision (which I had when I was a kid and wish I still had one), and the little tabletop arcade games.
Caveman, one of the tabletop games I never owned
I had the pac man tabletop like this when I was a kid
Microvision! Does anyone happen to have one of these they want to get rid of?
That pretty much sums it up. It was a neat, though nowhere near complete history of video games. I was shocked by some of the glaring omissions and also surprised by some of the things they did include. Overall they did a nice job and you could easily spend a couple hours or more in there playing various games all day long. I’d suggest bringing yr hand sanitizer though as there is plenty of kids running around in there touching everything and we all know kids are the biggest carriers of sickness.
I actually hope to go back one more time before it ends in September and see it again and take a lot more pictures.