One of my photos

Museum Pieces

July 13th, 2007 · Posted by Skuds in Technology · 3 Comments · Technology

I do like the idea of this: hot on the heels of having a museum of computing at Bletchley Park comes the idea of a museum for computer games.

It might sound like a trivial thing to devote a museum to, but if we can have whole rooms dedicated to silver thimbles in the V&A why not?

As the article points out, you can still play many old games on emulators, but that is only part of the story. I have played Manic Miner on my PC but it wasn’t quite the same. You might have thought it was better to have the game load straight away, but part of the whole Spectrum experience was getting the tape deck connected and listening to 5 minutes of bleeps while watching the loading screen, not to mention the tactile aspect of pressing those rubber keys.

And what about the packaging? I can’t remember a lot about how Spectrum games were packaged now. Give it another 20 years and I will remember even less, but I can still recall how most were in normal cassette boxes but some were in nice big cardboard boxes – like the Spectrum Scrabble.

Remember when PC games all came in big boxes, often with a thick manual to read? I would love to play the original Leisure Suit Larry now – before the point & click paradigm was introduced, when you would type all the instructions in. And what about the stuff which came with it? One of the Larry games had all sorts of extras like tickets and newspaper cuttings which the game would ask you to quote from in an early attempt to avoid piracy.

And then there are all the old console and arcade games. Asteroids just doesn’t look right on a raster-scan monitor – the same goes for that tank commander game or the submarine one with the periscope controls.

The only problem I can see with a museum is that you would need to be able to get some hands-on time with it – but how long would some of these machines last if everyone could hammer away at them? It would be frustrating to just see it all in glass cases, but unwise let the public loose on them.

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