Friday, March 08, 2013

New at the Ontario Science Centre - Game On 2.0

More March Break fun!! As I sit here with my fresh new "Wreck-It Ralph" DVD sitting by my side (family movie night tomorrow!), scanning through images I snapped at the media preview event for Game On 2.0 yesterday, I am overwhelmed with a desire to play some retro video games. Maybe a little Pac-Man, or Galaga. Or even my fave, Crystal Castles!! (Do you remember Crystal Castles? I knew all the secret passages to higher levels.) Sadly, Crystal Castles does not make an appearance at the Science Centre for this exhibit, but so many other classic, obscure, and current games do.
My first gaming system, the Atari 2600. We won ours at a gas station. 

Awesome graphics, right? This, boys and girls, is how we played in the "olden days."
This is "Combat."
Game On 2.0 opens today, March 8, at the Ontario Science Centre. This is the world's largest touring exhibition on the history and evolution of video games, charting the story from 1962 up to the present day. From the first commercial coin-operated pinball game, to the first in-home gaming system (the Magnasonic Odyssey in 1972), through to a virtual reality experience, the exhibit provides a fascinating view into the gaming world. Sections of the exhibit focus as well on character and game art development, the influence of video games on the movies, and more. Most fun? This is an interactive exhibit. People come here to play!! Hands-on video game and pinball action. No quarters or tokens required.

There are over 150 playable games just waiting for you.
During busy periods, visitors are asked to limit play to 5 minutes per machine.

Three pinball machines. I guess I'll be able to introduce Little Boo to pinball after all!
(I spent entirely too much time with these during my visit. And when I was 16.)

The exhibit includes a variety of artwork, showing how characters are developed
and how they may have changed over time. Lots of artist's sketches.

Little Boo would love this Sonic the Hedgehog poster in his room.

Do you remember Merlin? I remember the Christmas I got this toy!
The displays of vintage hand held and table top games brought back lots of memories for me.
And I'm sure they will be endlessly entertaining for my boys.
There are lots of classic arcade games in the exhibit. Donkey Kong, Pac-Man
and Centipede are just three I spent a lot of time with.

From the Magnavox Odyssey to Virtual Reality. This exhibit marks the Canadian debut of the Virtusphere. A 3 metre diameter hollow sphere that the gamer enters, wearing a wireless headset/display unit. The gamer moves within the sphere as he runs through the game, completely immersed. The public will be able to experience this for themselves, though I expect the line-ups will be long.  Staff are currently being trained, and this part of the exhibit is hoped to be open by the end of March.
Admission to the Game On 2.0 exhibit is included in the OSC general admission ticket. The exhibit will run for six months, up to September 2, 2013. This would be a great stop on your March Break itinerary, but you'll have lots of time to check it out through the spring and summer as well. Gamers of all ages will be thrilled with this experience - both the playing and the learning.

The OSC has extended hours for March Break, as well as a series of special events. You can check out their full schedule of offerings online.

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