In June 2022, our Young Critics from Brinsworth Academy’s Writing Club took a trip to the National Videogame Museum (NVM). It was the first time any of the group had visited the museum. As well as playing lots of games, they joined the NVM's Leah and Gordie to peek behind the scenes, take some pics on a Game Boy Camera, and hear how a videogame museum is run. Read on to find out what they each made of it!
The National Videogame Museum (NVM) is an incredibly curated insight into the world of retro gaming. From someone who was not around in the era of the arcade cabinet, it transported me into a time I had not experienced, and a world so foreign yet intriguing. The NVM feels less like a museum and more like an 80s-themed arcade as you explore the many types of games it has to offer.
The museum begins with relatively vintage and 70s arcade cabinets. Games such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders – titles renowned worldwide for their brilliance that was ahead of their time, even someone who is not particularly a gamer has heard of them. Whilst many newer, updated renditions of these games (which I learned are called ports from the wonderful guide) can be played today, it was a raw, real, fun way to enjoy these games, completely unparalleled to anything I’ve experienced on my home consoles. The controls – usually a joystick or two and some tactile buttons – were quite difficult to master. Often a press of mine was not hard enough, resulting in a dramatic defeat after three perfect rounds of Space Invaders. (Some tears may have been shed.) This unrivalled experience completely put touchscreens to shame. It was so exciting, so fresh. I can completely understand why 70s kids were so infatuated with the phenomenon of arcade gaming.
Further in, the museum displayed some 2000s and 2010s classics. They had a Wii, a console that I remember using. It was very fun playing golf and immersing myself in it.
Later in the day, I learned about how the games are repaired in the museum. It fascinated me how complex the whole process is. I also learned about how games transcend their consoles through a system called porting – where games are run on a mini computer called Raspberry Pi. With some tweaking, the game can be made to run on modern consoles.
Overall, the trip was informative and fun. I had a really good time and would love to come back.