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Welcome to the nostalgic history of home and game computers

GameOn: exhibition on history of video games
Now in The Tech, San Jose (CA)

GameOn - Lara CroftGameOn is a marvelous, touring exhibition on the history of video games. Until August 15th, GameOn could be visited in Lille, France. From March till September 2005, the exposition could be visited in the Museum of Science of Industry in Chicago. At the moment, till January 2006, GameOn is part of the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose (CA).

GameOn earlier made stops in museums in London, Edinburgh, Tilburg (the Netherlands) and Helsinki.

As far as I know GameOn is  the first exhibition of this size in Europe on the history of videogames. I visited GameOn in the Netherlands on one of the first days in the beginning of the hot summer of 2003 here in Europe. In spite of the sustaining high temperatures and even heat waves this summer, GameOn drew some 20,000 game fanatics, young and old, men and women. 

With several top pieces from the history of video games, GameOn presents a fairly complete time line. One can even admire and touch the PDP-I from the sixties: the huge computer on which the very first computer game, Space War, was developed. Unfortunately this colossus doesn't functions, and that's also the case with the arcade version of Atari Pong and the Barbarella-like, futuristic Computer Space from Nolan Bushnell, the later founder of Atari. But the rest of the hundreds of arcade machines, home computers and game consoles function. GameOn invites to play with them - this is what you can call a really 'touchable' exhibition.

Stormy development 
Watching all these consoles and games on GameOn, one realizes how fast the video game industry has developed. After the PDP-1, which was only accessible to a few lucky people on universities, GameOn shows the slow start of the consumer consoles in the seventies, with the Magnavox Odyssey, Atari's Pong and later in the seventies the tremendous popular Atari VCS 2600. And let's not forget the beautiful table tops GameOn has collected.
But it's not all history on GameOn: there's also much attention for the newer and newest consoles, like the GameCube and the X-Box.

Computer Space GameOn Space Invaders GameOn   Tabletop GameOn Atari Pong GameOn

Playing with trains
GameOn also pays much attention to regional differences in the gaming culture. For instance there's - of course - a huge section about Japanese games. One of the most amazing things is a case with handles to drive a train. That seems to be a real hit in Japan: driving a train for hours. Do some catastrophes happen then, like collapsing bridges? No, just sitting in the cabin and watch - that's seems to be enough. 

PDP-1 - Space War  Game On

Tabletops Game On

GameOn X-Box



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History of Home and Game Computers, by Erik Klooster, the Netherlands

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