I live in a city called Brisbane, the capital of the sun-raped state of Queensland. It is small and womblike in that you can get by here, quite comfortably, with the bare minimum of effort.
Three guys on welfare can carve out a pretty sweet living hereabouts.
So I've never really travelled having only ever been to Sydney twice which is why I jumped at the chance to go to Melbourne. See, one of the guys I work with and two of my other liquor industry related friends were going to participate or otherwise observe the finals of the Woodford Reserve cocktail making competition and there was a spare bed in a hotel room.
So I raise some dough and off I go, just for one night but hey, why not?
The next day I awoke phenomenally hungover (comps put out ALOT of free booze, in this case, Juleps) around 9:50 with a 10:00 checkout, so we grabbed our stuff, each had a deodorant shower and left for a wander of Melbourne.
Then I see these ads for the Game On show and immediately make a beeline for it.
Outside the bulding was a large picture of the current day Mario with the vintage NES pixel Mario on the other side (I have photos of me in front of it but can't find my damn cameras USB thing) which set the tone nicely, so a ten dollar entry fee later and I'm inside.
One thing to get out of the way, though, was that I couldn't take any fucking pictures in the damn museum. The reason for this baffles me and infuriates me as there was some pretty sweet vintage equipment there and I would have loved to have showered you all with photos of. Oh well.
But to the show. We (Dan and I) trot down the stairs and into a classic arcade. Directly in front of us is a domino line of classic arcade games in their original cabinets. Missile Defence, Bezerk, Dig-Dug, Pac-Man, Galaga, Galaxian, Donkey Kong and many more. I had played Missile Defense on the Atari, but playing it with the trackball and three separate buttons for the differing firing locations mad it far more fun. I spent the better part of 45 minutes just playing away in the vintage section alone. Bezerk was just as fun as I'd remembered.
This section also sported a table-top Space Invaders whose progress was displayed on a giant screen for all to observe and an original Pong arcade machine. In short, the vintage section was a fuck-tonne of fun.
The show then branched off into the consoles with everything under the sun. Magnavox Odyssee playing Pong, which was incidentally entirely crap and unplayable, check. An old NEC unit with the CD drive attatched playing "Fighting Street", yup. It was an archive of odd and failed vintage consoles, most of which I had only ever heard of.
The consoles spread out for a while before blending into the handhelds and finally the current gen stuff, with a few PC classics thrown in for good measure (Doom, Monkey Island and the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy text Adventure game). There was a section with a few Miyamoto sketches, some stuff on GTAIV and controversy in games and a small section on the cross pollination between games and movies, sporting a poster for the cinematic masterpiece "Super Mario Brothers".
Despite all this the show was actually terribly laid out and woefully organized with no real organization of genre or time period. It was like an evolutionary chart that had been set to random so there were trilobytes sitting beside cats. In one display there was SF2 on one side, VF4 on another and Garou:MOTW opposite. HUH? There wasn't any coherence to what games were where, which is absurd if you are trying to chart the history of games. That said, there was a school excusion in that day and nothing makes me feel like more of a man than whipping a bunch of 14 year old kids at fighting games and ruining their day. I'm a big man.
There were other slight gripes as well, Orange Box=great, only having Orange Box on X-Box=?. Virtua Tennis as the Dreamcast game?
Had I been in charge there would have been a consistent accurate flow from the first games and laid them out chronologically splitting into genres when necessary like any decent evolutionary chart. I mean, having "Fighting Street" there and having no mention of it's relation to SF2 and the rise of one-on-one fighters is retarded. Having Doom there and not mentioning Wolfenstein or, oh I don't know, the CREATION OF THE FPS GENRE, is equally baffling. No mention of the video game crash and ET!?! Gah!
It was fun, well worth the entry, but in terms of being a "history of video games" it was pretty fucking poor. It was nice to see arcade cabinets older than most of the attendants there as it would give the filthy little urchins an idea of the roots of the games they play today, well, would have, were it not for the total lack of connection to any of the current stuff.
Someone needs to do it right, not me though I'm busy.