Monday, February 16, 2015

The Game Masters Exhibition

On Saturday LC and I went to see the "Game Masters" exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland. It's a celebration of the history of video games, with playable games from over the last forty years. Sounded like fun.

The exhibition was split into three sections. The first of these, Arcade Heroes, was probably the most enjoyable of the three, covering some of the really early games such as Pac Man and Asteroids. This was great fun, as they had sourced several old arcade machines that people could jump on and play. Good to get re-acquainted with some old friends.

The second section was Game Changers, which talked about some of the shifts in gaming: the move to home consoles, the introduction of open-world gaming, MMOs, and the like. It also dealt with the rise of new social games, such as SingStar, and also with TT Games Lego games which saw something of a renaissance in both children's games and licensed games.

I was surprised by this section, in that I enjoyed it much more for things other than the games. This section had lots of pieces of concept art and design work littered around the place, and also had video interviews with many of the people involved. This was all rather interesting.

The games themselves were a little underwhelming here. In the first instance this was because it was very busy, which meant getting onto any gaming machine was something of an ordeal. However, having gotten on to a game I quickly found two problems: firstly, you were playing a tiny snippet out of an hundred-hour game, which was never going to satisfy properly; and secondly, you were doing so with fairly complex, and totally unfamiliar, controls. That was never a recipe for good times.

(Fortunately, they didn't have Civilisation II amongst the games, or I might still be there. Heck, if they ever port that to an Android platform, I'm doomed! (But, luckly, it does have to be Civilisation II - none of the other versions hold the same danger.))

The third section was about Indie games, which was... okay. Here I just wasn't familiar with most of the games, nor terribly interested. I'm sure they were great and all, but... I was just underwhelmed I guess.

All said, I rather enjoyed the exhibition.

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