I've always hated this time of the year: it's super nice outside, summer is still in the air, but you can't help but dread the fact that school is happening in a week or two. While school is no longer a thing for me now, I still can't help but remember how much the countdown to a new school year tormented me... Which is why I'd like to propose a fun activity for the kids (and big kids in us) to end the summer (and begin the new school year) on a good note!
I had been spotting these flashy ads for a gaming exhibit at the Montreal Science Center for a few months: posters with images of several dozen gaming controllers from past to present... and I was sold.
I hopped on over to the website and *gasp* - Game On isn't just an informative and educational exhibit on videogames and consoles through history, but it also allows you to play a hundred videogames. WIN!
Now disclaimer: BRING HAND SANITIZER! The moment I got there, I noticed the error of my ways: kids everywhere handling controllers with their nasty little germy kid hands... talk about a bacteria field day! Lucky for me, my aunt had some on her. You've been forewarned - bring hand sanitizer!
The exhibit wasn't organized whatsoever by decade or console or publisher: it was really just a mish-mash of lots of videogames. The first section had an area where you could try out the Oculus Rift (the virtual reality headset) which is definitely a worthwhile experience... We've really come a long way in VR technologies and this badboy is irrefutable proof of it!
There were display cases with consoles of past and present including this "Brown Box" (also known as "TV Game Unit #7") from 1967 that allows you to switch between simple games like Ping-Pong, Checkers and Volleyball with the flick of a switch.
They even had a Speak & Spell that you could play around with. Anyone else think of nothing but ET when they see one of these?
If you're a fan of series and franchise games, they have mini-exhibits with artwork, toys and documentation for such games as Pokemon, GTA and some of my faves, The Sims and Monkey Island.
I was super excited that they included Monkey Island cause these games totally rocked my world in the 90s... and a few years ago, when they were re-released. If you're on Steam, you can download them in a Special Edition Bundle.
I really wanted the Pirate LeChuck and Guybrush Threepwood watercolour sketches they had - they were so awesome!
And of course what's a videogame exhibit without being reminded how limited the original Sims was... I was addicted to the original when it first came out in 2000 and I'm still hooked 15 years later.
I think that the only thing that was disappointing (but extremely understanding) was the fact that most the games are being emulated and cannot be played on their original consoles. But who can blame them? Good luck getting your hands on that many old consoles and praying that all the kids touching them don't wreck them!
Overall, it wasn't as informative an exhibit as I had hoped, however it was super fun and felt like an incredibly nostalgic day at the arcade.
Game On runs until Sunday, September 13th (you've got 2 weeks!) at the Montreal Science Center and costs between $12.50 and $21 depending on your age. Go have fun!