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Videogame Nation exhibition

Lynda Moyo reminisces on video game days gone by at the new Urbis exhibition

Written by . Published on May 19th 2009.


Videogame Nation exhibition

Atari, Commodore, Spectrum, Master System, Mega Drive, SNES, Playstation, Xbox and Wii. Computer games have come a long way since Freddie Williams, Tom Kilburn and Geoff Totill created the world's first stored-program computer right here on our doorstep, at Manchester University in 1948.

Your age and the age of your siblings ultimately determines which video games will turn your square eyes heart shaped as gaming nostalgia sets in. Being an eighties baby, mine was the Sega Master System of which many a Saturday morning were spent trying to complete Alex Kidd in Miracle World. At the time it was the must-have machine, the one to replace my beloved Spectrum. It had cartridges instead of tapes and took a lot less time to 'load'.

It was the future back then but a trip to the Videogame Nation exhibition at Urbis placed it where it now belongs: in the archive of video gaming as the Wii and the Playstation's very old, harmless yet embarrassing, distant relative.

The exhibition charts the meteoric rise of video gaming and the multi-billion pound industry which spans more than 30 years of games and consoles loved by both kids and adults. It costs £3 to get in but it's money well spent as you can spend as much time as you want reminiscing, discovering and playing old favourites such as Sensible Soccer - which features in an area paying homage to football gaming long before the high-tech days of Pro-Evo and Fifa.

Then there are the more recent games which have raked in billions, such as Tomb Raider and Grand Theft Auto, not to mention cult classics like Golden Eye and Zelda for the Nintendo '64. There's even a section dedicated to mobile phone gaming and the revolution that was Snake on Nokia.

Explore different gaming environments from the arcade game and sporting arena to interconnected multi-player games and virtual worlds. The exhibition also examines the cultural impact of gaming, from its cleverly designed graphics and contemporary soundtracks as well as its darker side – violent content and gaming addiction.

Were you a Commodore '64 or a ZX Spectrum? A SNES or a Megadrive? Playstation or Xbox? And then of course there's the groundbreaking Wii by Nintendo redefining gaming once again.

With a high level of interactivity and strong historical narrative on gaming, this exhibition is suitable for pros and novices, young and old alike.

It's one of Urbis' most commendable, well-sourced and publicly pleasing exhibitions to date. Get down there and have a play.

Videogame Nation is on exhibition at Urbis from 14 May – 20 September.

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12 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

outragedofm1May 19th 2009.

It´s a fun little exhibit, but I´d urge the connoiseur to pop down the Lass O´Gowrie to taste their free video games and free Computer gaming club oin the last Tuesday of the month, complete with a speccy and Commodore. Sheer poetry...

KatyMay 19th 2009.

Descartes - I am so chuffed that someone else played Chuckie Egg! What a game. I do miss Wizball on the c64, a masterpiece by Ocean. I wish LucasArts still did decent flying games, like X Wing vs Tie Fighter, where you needed more or less every button on your keyboard to smash the Imperial scum. Happy days.

AnonymousMay 19th 2009.

Me and my sister would scoure everywhere to by 2 of all the new games consoles for our sons who are now 30, she's still got them, I've still got the original full size space invader like the one in the picture and it still works, and we still fight over who's turn it is next

AnonymousMay 19th 2009.

A lot of people who comment on the art page of the site can sometimes be right up their own arses, so I am surprised there hasn't been anyone on yet complaining that this exhibition appeals too much to the masses.

toastMay 19th 2009.

sensible soccer.... always with the sensible soccer... run down the middle just to the left or the right of the D and shoot with after-touch, goal. Repeat. Game over.Now Kick off 2 (on the Amiga, the ST cersion was rubbish) now that WAS a game, that required skill, that required knowing the nuances of each different player as well the referees ( Screech refereeing would mean that the game would end up 5-a-side) and then throw in the different pitches and the wind... wonderful stuff.

Ian TendoMay 19th 2009.

That man on one of the pictures really doesn't like X-box does he? Is he a Glasow Rangers fan who's got lost?

A RealistMay 19th 2009.

I went there today and we all enjoyed it, nice bit of fun, well done Urbis, more exhibitions like this one please.

DescartesMay 19th 2009.

Ahhhh the time of the c64, those were the days! Jumpers for goalposts, swapping bikes, fingerbobs, playing hide and seek in the park and waiting a cool half hour for chuckie egg to load from cassette. Kids these days don't know they're born, I really think the plug and play nature of games these days is the cause of the breakdown of the world. Things were different when you had to wait all day for a game to load (whilst praying, praying nothing went wrong). If you were lucky there was a loading game to play, otherwise it was sit and talk and wait to explore the platform world of a hapless egg lost far from home. Oh and let's not forget the mighty SID sound chip. Brings a tear to my eye

JanieMay 19th 2009.

Long Live Goldeneye on the N64! Best game ever. I'll be visiting Urbis this weekend to see if I've still got the capability to whack Sean Bean's character and all his cronies!

Gary ThomlinsonMay 19th 2009.

As a coder of the time, playing a part or being responsible for many games on the C16/C64/BBC/Atari/Amiga, I'll be heading over there to check this out!

NicholsonMay 19th 2009.

I'm with Toast on that one; Kick Off 2 was by far the best footy game - having to push the ball out so you could trap n pass, or hoofing to the corners up the big diagonal to set you up for a cross and header. You could do a 'special' lob that would quite often go in from just outside the centre circle (kick + backwards aftertouch). Well done remembering S. Screech. There was a C. Hunt too !!

GoitremauveMay 19th 2009.

I didn't think it was legal for siblings to breed? Each to their own. I guess it's different if you're rich.

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