Saturday, April 2, 2016

Blast from the Past

I had a little bit of free time last Friday so I took an opportunity to visit the "Game On" exhibit at the Miraikan in Odaiba, Tokyo.  Needless to say it was a very nostalgic experience.  I also snapped a few photos while I was there (sorry if they look a bit blurry - low light, no flash allowed).  Here's a sampling in this blog post along with some accompanying text based on my impressions.

A bit before my time, but my understanding is
part of the popularity of Pong was the lack
of social stigma associated with men and
women playing it together.  Considering there
was a line of couples waiting to play, I think it
still holds appeal in that regard.
Computer Space was the first commercially
available arcade game ever made.  Sadly it wasn't in working shape (along with Centipede and the original vector graphics Star Wars rail shooter).  I did get to play Space War though which was just adjacent. 
Practically every gaming system ever manufactured was on display with at least one game available to try out.  In this photo (from left to right) is an Atari 7800, Sega Genesis, Gamecube, PSX and original XBOX.  They also had a Dance Dance Revolution machine and a full set of
Rock Band musical instruments.
Before the Nintendo Gameboy, these little handheld devices used the same technology as digital watches to create simple games.  My childhood memory is a bit fuzzy, but I do recall playing "Fire," Octopus," and possibly "Popeye."
I had Kerbal Space Program flashbacks while
playing Moon Lander.  I was able to land safely
the first try, but on the second attempt I deiced to
go for a suicide didn't end well.  Funny
enough the failure message read something along
the lines of "you just destroyed a 100 Mega Buck
spacecraft."  I wonder if the technician I saw
working on the broken Hang On machine was
thinking something along similar lines with
regards to the museum visitors. 
I used to have an Apple IIc with this exact game and joystick.  Inside the display case is floppy disk copy of Prince of Persia which I also played extensively.
The original version of Space
Invaders was pretty creepy
looking.  Aside from old classics
like Galaga, Missle Command,
and Dig Dug, there were also
a nice mix of modern shooters as
 well as artsy titles (Papers
Shadow of the Colossus,
and Viva Pinata).
I was aware of Steel Battalion, but I never
thought I would ever get a chance to play
it for real.  The controls were a bit intimidating
to say the least.  Thankfully a kind Japanese man
helped me through the rather complex startup sequence.
Sadly, I wasn't able to flip up the cover on the emergency
escape button in time to preserve my meager progress
before being destroyed.

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