Game On - Game Over

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SirClive
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Game On - Game Over

Post by SirClive » Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:35 am

The Game On exhibition at the London Science Museum ended yesterday and I managed to get there for a couple of hours. I know it has been mentioned a few times already, but I wanted to add my thoughts.

Firstly I hav to say that I was so disappointed with the show. I was hoping for an informative look at the origins of gaming, but what I actually found was a freeplay arcade, with very little in the way of info. Don't get me wrong, I loved playing the games and it was nice to be able to go round pointing out the interesting items to my girlfriend (and boring her with my tour guide stuff - if the museum won't do it then I will :wink: )

Too many of the games were broken. I accept that it was the last day and some had taken a hammering, but a quality exhibition would have a number of reserve machines and would swap them out if not working, but here they just put a notice on the macine to say it was out of use.

Overall I loved playing the games and having the top score on the Asteroids machine and also on 3d Deathchase on the Speccy (which I had to be dragged away from as I was looking like I might beat my retroleague winning score from the other week), but I wanted to learn more. I wanted some luterature to take away and I wanted some goodies to buy.

It was a nice unusual arcade, but as an exhibition it was very lacking.
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Browncat
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Post by Browncat » Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:11 am

I thought it was great fun but yeah, as an exhibition it was lacking. I suppose its hard to approach games in an academic respect when you want to attract as many people/kids as possible to make money. Plus the genres of gaming are not so well defined, so an exhibition of horror films would probably be for an 18+ audience but for games it has to be across the board. What I mean is; I think they were trying to please everyone.

I didn't like that they gave so much space to the current/next gen and as a consequence neglected the broken retro machines. I played Pong (or whatever it is called) on the 360 but it kept crashing, so I was not very impressed. Also the C64 was broken not good for me.
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SirClive
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Post by SirClive » Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:46 pm

They just needed a few more rooms with stuff that told me something. Or a least a booklet to accmpany the exhibition.
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Post by knight_beat » Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:29 pm

I visited on Friday and came away with a similar feeling of disappointment. I think we may have been spoiled by emulation. The classic machines were disappointing when seen in the plastic. It was made worse by the poor display on several machines. The picture quality of the PC Engine display, in particular was horribly blurred and fuzzy. I was also amazed at the number of machines that were using Sega joypads.

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Post by pottyboy » Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:50 pm

I'm suprised by reading all these comments that each machine was in bad shape. I went in October a few days after it had started and pretty much everything was in working order (of course!). Was quite horrified that they were not maintained all this time! :(

It was great when I went. Sure, I had to suffer with a crowd and there was one or two machines that didn't work properly, but apart from that it was an enjoyable day out.
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Post by scunny » Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:56 pm

i totally agree, i went also and found it to be lacking. It wasnt educational at all really, it was just a nicer segaworld or namco with a few older games in. Queues were annoying for the popular stuff, you had to book a time with the idea being that you had a certain time but at no point did the organisers kick out the people how had been sat for hours hogging the machines. There were too many people there refusing to budge when there were clearly people waiting, no sense of winner stay on with the fighting games or anything, they would just start again.

Finally, yes, too many games were broken.

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Post by seanmcmanus » Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:01 am

I went to the exhibition twice, once in October and once during a weekday the week before it closed. Some of the problems you cite are down to you going at the last minute. In October everything worked just fine, unlike just before closure. I agree though that if they're going to keep taking money they should keep maintaining the exhibition - they had let rather too much slide. But you didn't see the exhibition at its best.

It would have been good to have more context and information, and to have more games that really pushed the hardware and showed what it was capable of. 3D Deathchase is okay, but Batman or Head Over Heels would show more of what the Spectrum could do once programmers had learned to use it properly. They would also be (I think) the only isometric 3D adventures there, which seemed like a massive oversight. It would have been good to see a BBC and Amstrad there too in terms of hardware, perhaps running Chuckie Egg and Get Dexter.

I really enjoyed the show. I played some classic games I knew and loved and discovered some great new games I'd never played before. I liked that it was all hands-on. The queues weren't bad at all when I went (they were horrendous at the Barbican last time it was in London).

I'm really pleased I got to go twice. I had a great time both times, and it's a shame this can't be a permanent exhibit. Wherever it's going next, I wish it well.

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Post by RocketRanger » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:41 am

I went on a Friday evening quite late and there were very few people there. It was great!

I felt that the exhibits were displayed in the style of an art gallery rather than a museum. Each game had a small sign depicting the title's name, author and platform. If viewed in this context, the layout made more sense.

There was, however, a fairly business like Japanese man permanently attached to the 'Gran Turismo' cabinet. It occurred to me, that I have seen pictures of GT setups like that one in numerous magazines such as Edge always with a suited Japanese man occupying the driving seat. I conclude that such cabinets MUST be shipped with such a man deliberatly so that nobody may play the game for fear of people discovering that GT is, for example, pants.

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SirClive
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Re:

Post by SirClive » Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:08 pm

RocketRanger wrote: There was, however, a fairly business like Japanese man permanently attached to the 'Gran Turismo' cabinet. It occurred to me, that I have seen pictures of GT setups like that one in numerous magazines such as Edge always with a suited Japanese man occupying the driving seat. I conclude that such cabinets MUST be shipped with such a man deliberatly so that nobody may play the game for fear of people discovering that GT is, for example, pants.
The GT machine was broken when I went on Sunday :( although a miserable looking bloke was sat on it waiting for his kids to wear themselves out running up and down the room yanking on joysticks.
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Re:

Post by MattC » Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:26 pm

RocketRanger wrote: There was, however, a fairly business like Japanese man permanently attached to the 'Gran Turismo' cabinet. It occurred to me, that I have seen pictures of GT setups like that one in numerous magazines such as Edge always with a suited Japanese man occupying the driving seat. I conclude that such cabinets MUST be shipped with such a man deliberatly so that nobody may play the game for fear of people discovering that GT is, for example, pants.
Run it on MAME - it's actually just a copy of Word 2000 with the paperclip changed for a racing car.

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Post by zerohour » Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:19 pm

So what would you look for in a retro exhibition?

We have tried to make some concession with our Pong to Playstation Exhibition here at the Museum of Computing, Swindon

but ultimately you cant please everyone but what would you have liked to have seen at Game On and didn't or you think was wildly inaccurate.

Maybe we might have what you were looking for. For one we definitely have no imposed time limit.

Further info at : http://www.museum-of-computing.org.uk

Although the museum is usually unmmaned most of the week, but if you want a guided tour I am more than willing to show you around just send me a PM.. telling me when you wish to come. It is always manned on Saturdays.

Cant say fairer than that can you?

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SirClive
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Post by SirClive » Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:33 pm

for me it was an arcade and not an exhibition. I can play all of the games through emulation or on the retro machines I have at home. I wanted to learn something about the history, I wanted some game art, some rare items (granted space war was there, though not running), some theming.
I want to b able to play some of the stuff, but not ONLY play.
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SirClive
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Post by SirClive » Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:34 pm

I take it Swindon is somewhere south?
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Post by Antiriad2097 » Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:57 pm

Its where Billie Piper's from - she sounds Southern to me.
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Post by will2097 » Tue Mar 06, 2007 6:21 pm

South? Nah - it's practically Wales.

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