Last week I was fortunate enough to pay a visit to London’s beloved Science Museum, for the unveiling of a gaming event like you’ve never seen before. Power UP artfully demonstrates how an exhibition can be interactive for all ages, whilst educating visitors on the history and technology of the gaming world.
The gamers were out in full force (Photo credit - Benjamin Ealovega)
With the help of the European Gaming League (EGL), the Science Museum have imported 180 different consoles into their building, plus a pack load of different games for visitors to have a crack at. These range from the newest technology on hand, such as the Playstation VR, to some of the iconic systems that kickstarted the gaming scene, such as the SEGA megadrive.
I was not the only one spellbound by this latest venture from the museum. My good friend (and I know how much she loves being called that) was intrigued to discover all the different types of consoles that were on offer to play, and graciously agreed to accompany me to the press launch.
Of course, we had to start the evening off in style. Naturally, we did this by going to the wrong building and nearly walking into a lecture on Astronomical Science at the Imperial College London.
Super suave, we are.
Once we’d found where the actual entrance was, we kicked the evening off on some chilled out beanbags with Pokémon and nachos. I have to say, one of the most welcoming aspects of this event is the layout of the group gaming areas. Besides the beanbag circle, there is also a benched area for the Mario Kart fans to sit together and play. It’s a great way of championing social gaming and encouraging others to interact at the exhibit.
It was a messy night as we downed our Coca Cola and San Pellegrino
There are also dedicated areas for franchises, which I mention because there was a whole row of Sonic games in chronological order. Being a longtime fan of the hedgehog, I flexed my muscles on a few of various titles, encouraging my companion to also give it a go. She wasn’t as keen, claiming that she was “the only person on earth to make Sonic slow”.
Granted, that is quite a talent.
Though the most intriguing part of this of this event has to be the rare and unique retro consoles that Power UP have managed to get their hands on. The event hosts 180 different machines, and the retro gaming consoles make up a good portion of this number. The oldest system dates back to 1976, where you can play the classic Pong game on a Binatone TV Master.
I myself took a liking to the old Pacman. Seriously, it never gets old.
I got the high score on the leaderboard and was immensely proud of myself
It was in this area that I began to notice how well this exhibition caters to different audiences. I watched on as one station a gaming fanatic discussed with his friend about the games that used to be available on the Atari consoles in 1980’s. Meanwhile, on the console next to them, I saw a father teaching his son about how the controls on these old consoles worked, as he explained what gaming used to be like before the age of VR and the Switch.
These two encounters summed up the purpose of this exhibition. Whilst it appeals to those who have a rooted passion in gaming and love the industry, it is also perfect for young children to experience something new that they will have never seen before. They can be educated on technology, whilst having fun playing on the classic arcade games. This proves it to be an activity that is both a place you can go with your mates, as well as a family-friendly event.
The Science Museum have truly outdone themselves with Power UP. They are no doubt bringing in gaming fans in droves, and if you have chance in the next week I highly recommend that you pop down yourself to take a look. Tickets are available here.
The cult circle of nerd. Once you're in, you will never escape. (Photo credit - Benjamin Ealovega)