[Today the Game On Exhibition, the longest-running traveling museum exhibit of video games - is 10 years old, and curator Barry Hitchings writes a blog for Gamasutra about his decade (!) traveling with the event.]
Seems life a life time away since I started to work on Game On, from helping choose and obtain the games that formed part of the original show to helping design the units. Then on the 16th of May 2002, the exhibition open.
Originally it was thought that the exhibition might travel to maybe 3 or 4 venues after the Barbican, going on previous exhibitions that the Barbican art galleries had created, including the Art of Star Wars. I think it was a surprise to the Barbican when the exhibition kept travelling and even after 10 years it still shows no sign of stopping.
The exhibition covers all forms of gaming from Space Wars to the present day, covering a world of gaming, and I shall cover the exhibition in more detail in a future blog post.
The exhibition in both forms has travelled to over 17 countries in the world including the UK, America, Australia, Hong Kong, Brazil, Taiwan, France, Portugal and Norway. It has visited over 25 venues too, which makes it one of the most successful museum based video game shows ever.
I have enjoyed many of the locations that we have been to, Launceston in Tasmania was one of the nicest places I have been, a small city it had outstanding natural beauty nearby and some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Kaohsiung in Taiwan was another wonderful place with fantastic food, people and a vibrant city.
Travelling means that we get to experience how different video gaming is around the world. Saturn Bomberman and Halo (in all it's forms on the Xbox 360) are fantastic multiplayer games, in Game On we have them set up for 8 player games. In the west Halo gets played a lot more then Saturn Bomberman, when we did go to Taiwan and Hong Kong, it was interesting to see that Saturn Bomberman got played a lot more then Halo.
I always get asked for funny stories about Game On, one that springs to mind is when Game On opened in Taiwan, the local venue got a famous Taiwanese band called Mayday ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayday_(Taiwanese_band) ) open the show.
There were big queues before we opened, although mainly of teenage and 20 something girls. They opened the show by introducing themselves and were happy that Game On came to Taiwan. Due to various issues they were not allowed to sing or perform, so instead we set up Rock Band for them, so I helped them start the game up and they performed a Rolling Stones song, even with this the fans loved this.
When they had finished and said their goodbyes they headed off via a side enterance and the lead singer Ashin, passed a NEC PC Engine and quickly picked up the joypad and started to play it saying that he had not seen a PC Engine for years.
In the end the Manager had to physically drag him off. Once they had gone, I got my 5 minutes of fame as I had so many girls and women come up to me and ask me for my autograph and wanted my picture, sadly this was not for my work as a video game hunk but because I had talked to the band.
It always makes me smile when I see parents and children alike playing games, fathers and mothers showing their children games that they used to play when they were younger, especially when the child beats the parent at Pong. When programmers and designers like Al Alcorn, Nigel Alderton, Jon Hare, Jeff Minter and others tell me that they really liked the exhibition and thought it was great.
I hope that Game On does improve and expand and that in 2022, I write another blog saying happy 20th Birthday Game On, until then I shall say Happy 10th Birthday Game On.