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Game On at the Science Museum

Videogames exhibition wows the crowds

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The Science Museum's Game On videogame exhibition opened last week in a blaze of national press publicity, proclaiming a new respect for the medium.

We reckon videogames have been pretty well accepted as part of mainstream adult culture since Sony bulldozed its way into the market with the first Playstation though.

What Game On does best is put the industry's first 20 years in the spotlight, providing the chance to recall more innocent days when men were spaceships and women were Ms Pacman.

The day The Register attended, the exhibition was packed with families whose children seemed decidedly non-plussed by the rudimentary graphics on display. Although we did hear one thirtysomething Chelsea mummy snap "Get off it Jonny, it's Mummy's turn now", we thought we'd wait until a nation of squealing infants were safely cloistered in their schools before recommending it to Register readers.

The exhibition is by no means comprehensive. There's no Defender, no Elite, and no Mario Kart. Not a single Megadrive classic was represented either. Game On has been touring since 2002 though, so these omissions don't seem to bother most.

What's there is well chosen and well put together. We didn't know escaping ghosts in Pacman could be such a terrifyingly cinematic experience until we played it projected 10-foot-wide on a wall. Mercifully, the show is light on tedious quasi-academic expositions of the cultural significance of Puzzle Bobble - the kind of puff beloved of cinema exhibits - and crammed with playable machines. There's three rooms of machines preloaded with too many classics to list here.

There'll be a series of video game luminaries giving talks at the museum's Dana Centre during the course of the Science Museum run, until February next year. The exhibition website is here.

Entry will set you back £8.50 per adult. Let us know what you think if you make it down to South Kensington. ®

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