Copyright 2002 Game On Press Release

[ September 10th 2002 ]

Game On is the first major UK exhibition to explore the vibrant history, culture and future of videogames from 1962 to the present day and beyond. Come and play over 120 videogames at this incredible groundbreaking exhibition. Forty years ago Space War!, the first ever videogame, appeared and now in 2002 Sony are presenting us with the possibility of games without consoles, where players manipulate objects using their own body movement. See it all at Game On!

The exhibition examines the game design process from conceptual drawing through to the finished game and identifies the key creative people who make them. It explains the developments in hardware technology, from the colossal computers of the early 1960s to the recent consoles like Xbox, GameCube and PlayStation 2, illustrating how content and technologies need each other to move forward successfully. The influence games have had on culture in Europe, North America and Japan is also explored. Says Jem Fraser, Head of Education at the National Museums of Scotland, "We are delighted that Game On, our collaborative exhibition with the Barbican Gallery, is now coming to Scotland. There are thousands of Scottish gamers and museum goers who can't wait to check out the exhibition".

Game On kicks off with Early Arcade Games, exploring the early history of arcade games from 1962, when Steve Russell, a researcher at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), designed a game called Space War!, the first game to be developed on a computer with a monitor. Could this be the first piece of game hardware? The range of rare vintage arcade games continues with the first manufactured arcade game Computer Space (1971) and Pong (1972) both developed by Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari. Other major games from this period include the popular game Space Invaders (1978). You can then move to Games Consoles, exploring their history from 1972 to the present day. This section describes and displays the range of machines produced by Atari, Sega, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and others, which have brought gaming into the home over the last 30 years. Visitors will be able to see and play some of the key consoles, including the first one made for the home - the Magnavox Odyssey (1972). Following the exhibition tour, these consoles will be taken into the NMS collections.

With 35 playable games, Games Families looks at the world of games and examines where the impetus for different kinds of gameplay has come from. In The Making and Marketing of Games, the game design process from concept drawing to packaged product is examined including a focus on one of the most important games of recent times: Grand Theft Auto III (Rockstar Games). The exhibition proceeds to examine the different types of games available in different parts of the world and the thought processes and factors contributing to their invention. looks at the way games reflect and influence wider culture. Key areas for consideration are the debate over violence, the role of the independent game company and the influence of sport on games. Also explored are the differing games cultures in Europe, America and Japan.

Games have often been closely associated with film and we look at examples of links between the two media with playable arcade games including Star Wars (Atari) and Tron (Bally Midway). More recent console-based hits renowned for their dynamic game play include Golden Eye (Rare) and Star Wars Rogue Leader (LucasArts). Original film posters from Super Mario Brothers, Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider have been included in the display.

Game On rounds up with a glimpse of the future. A range of emerging technology and content trends are showcased, giving some indication of the shape that gaming may take over the next decade. This display includes Japanese 'communication games', Liquid Fire- a revolutionary new type of games interface from Sony, which allows the player to interact with the game using physical movements. New to the Scottish leg of the exhibition is the latest Lara Croft Tomb Raider game that is to be released in December.

Game On Scotland. Royal Museum, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, 20 and 21 November 2002.

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