Get your Game On
I can trace a lot of pivotal moments in my life through games. From the first time I ever got my hands on one (Space Invaders and Asteroids in the Dalkey Island Hotel) to this very moment in time, I’ve been hopelessly addicted.
Our first home computer – and the start of my obssession with computers, as well as fuelling my gaming addiction – was an Amstrad, green screen. This was my Monty on the Run/Dizzy/Souls of Darkon/Jet Boot Jack period. A few years later – moving into secondary school – it was the Sega Megadrive and Sonic the Hedgehog.
The year I did my Leaving Cert, I discovered an old version copy of The Secret of Monkey Island, which ate into my study time just a little. The first year of college was the retro year, when we discovered the text game based on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. First proper “grown-up” relationship: Resident Evil and Tekken on Playstation. First marathon trip abroad (Australia, if you’re interested): Mario Bros on Gameboy. 21st birthday: Halo. First break-up: SSX Tricky.
You get the idea.
So the chance to see the history of gaming, from the 1960s up to modern day, was pretty tempting. The Game On exhibition at the Ambassador Theatre in Dublin isn’t your average exhibition. You can play almost all the games for a start.
They have everything from an old Pong machine and arcade machines Steel Battalion and Halo 3. They’ve even got Puckman. Anyone who has watched Scott Pilgrim vs the World will know that Puckman was the original name for Pacman (after Pakkuman), but when the game was brought to America, they decided it was too easy to vandalise into something less…child-friendly, so changed the name.
The exhibition is divided into sections, with a line-up of 10 consoles from the 1970s Atari to Nintendo’s first games console, the Famicom (which became the NES in Europe and the US).
There were games in there I’d forgotten even existed – how could I forget Lemmings? And there’s a whole section dedicated to handheld games consoles like the Nintendo Gameboy, DS and Atari Lynx. For the life of me, I can’t remember who I knew that owned the Barcode Battler, but I remember playing with one as a child.
Anyway. Game On is definitely worth a look. Go when it’s not busy and you pretty much have complete access to the games, without having to queue. Try out the ridiculous controller customised for Steel Battallion, which has a mind-boggling array of buttons and switches that don’t respond well to button-mashing. Play Pacman on a huge screen. And laugh at the corner for failed peripherals – Nintendo Power Glove anyone?
Game on runs until January 30th 2011. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.