Arcade Klassix

We're on holiday in Portland. Went to check out the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry based on a recommendation. Didn't get much out of it, but we don't have kids. It's passable as an exploratorium for youngsters, but doesn't deliver on the "Industry" part to the level of the museums in Chicago or London, and the Life Sciences galleries, which generally interest me the most, were too dumbed-down for anyone over the age of ten.

But we happened upon the Game On traveling exhibit, which I'd been curious about since it started in 2002. Some highlights:

two models of "Computer Space", the first arcade game. This gorgeous cab was sculpted out of clay by its designer in his kitchen. I've only seen these turned off, but allegedly the game is impossible to figure out. In the center is the computer used to design and program it via punch-card interface.

a low-rider "Space Invaders" cocktail from Japan which requires you to sit on the floor to play it.

Magnavox Odyssey, the first home system. the paddles are out of the case so you can play it on a screen up above, like the hundred other consoles on display.

A whole room of handhelds, most of them playable.

Original Don Bluth animation cels for the "Dragon's Lair" laserdisc arcade game.

A Nintendo "Virtual Boy", the first 3D game system, which I'd never tried before. It's monochromatic, but that just adds to its character.

There's another room of arcade machines circa late 70's-early 80's, all set to free play, but none were rare enough to warrant mention. Also a few pinballs, including an Atari "Space Raiders" widebody, but they're too badly maintained to be enjoyable.

The majority of this enormous exhibit is console games from the 90's to the present. I'm not into that stuff, but most guys younger than myself might be. Also lots of conceptual drawings, so game designers especially should love this show.


Anonymous said...

Bistro Montage:


The basil pesto mac got me through college. Just Sayin'

stexe said...

That isn't too close to where we're staying (across the street from Powell's Books), and I'm trying to hit as many brewpubs as possible, but we'll try to make it to that neighborhood.