Hence, I checked out 'what's on in Melbourne' and thanks to Natasha for giving me this great idea. Oh, and thanks for keeping me in company too. ^^
Hmm... due to laziness, I should just post my assignment here as a review for the fun visit.
The pizza with a slice missing was moving towards the left.
While busy clearing the dots from a maze, it was also avoiding four ghosts, dressed in red, blue, purple, and orange zigzag-bottomed-blouses.
Oops, caught by the red one.
Game over, Pac Man.
It was the first scene set at the entrance of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) Game On Exhibition, launching the journey of the video gamers’ forty-year-old memory lane.
The international touring gig began at Barbican Gallery in UK in 2002 has finally landed in Melbourne’s Federation Square, displaying the most comprehensive evolution of video games.
It includes the extensive collection of hardware, from the largest arcade machine to the smallest handheld console, and features almost all the classic games, from the oldest Pong to the latest Grand Theft Auto.
Not limited to display though. You are allowed to touch them and, of course, play them.
Stage one: Reminiscence.
The left end of the gallery space has rows of coin-operating machines (You do not need a coin to play in the exhibition), set up exactly like the arcades in the pubs, bars, and entertainment centre.
Standing in front of the cabinets, concentrating on the monitor, left hand controlling the joystick, right hand switching swiftly among six buttons – these are the standard postures.
The man in his fifties had been sitting there for hours. He had neither taken any break nor moved to other cabinets.
He was in his space war – Space Invaders, the world-crazed game which you have to stop an alien invasion by shooting at the descending invaders who heavily outnumber you. Your only protection is the green bunkers.
He kept shooting.
This is the power of video games. Like cigarette, allures you from the reality and locks you in the virtual world, you become so addictive that you can hardly abstain from it.
It is a collective memory. Mike Manning, a father of two kids, remember his first attempt on arcade games.
“After school, I’ll drop by at the Fish and Chips shop with my buddies. We’ll compete to be the highest scorer of the day,” Mike said.
Stage two: Family.
The Brown Box – contains of a big box with sixteen buttons and two small boxes with three buttons and a scroll at the side – invented by Ralph Baer, has started the life of home consoles and brought video games into family.
No longer in dim lights. No longer above eighteen. No longer labeled as problem behavior.
Home consoles have torn down the wall between parents and video games. Children are the biggest beneficiaries.
“Jump! Jump! Jump! Then you eat the fruits!” the mom sounded more excited than the boy, teaching him how to play Bubble-bubble.
Jordon Du, 7, had his first Game Boy two years ago. “My favorite game is Mario Cart,” he said in a show-off tone.
Jordon’s mom said, “video games are very effective in terms of rewarding your children. Jordon will behave really well for a new game.”
The ten most significant home consoles, including Atari, Sega and Nintendo, are presented in the exhibition, each equipped with their own characteristics.
The Italian plumber with a large nose, bushy moustache, short and stocky body – Mario – has witnessed the development of these home consoles.
In the cartridge console era, Mario jumped on the evil mushrooms and avoided the barrels threw by Donkey Kong. In the CD console era, Mario drove the carts and fought the bad guys.
Stage three: Community.
Booths are setup in the center of the gallery, largely populated by young adults.
The guy looked so intense, clicking the mouse rapidly, and not affected by the crowd at all.
Suddenly, he burst out laughing.
No, he did not win. He laughed because he received funny instant messages from other players that he did not even know their names.
Massively multiplayer online game (MMO) is the current hit in gaming world. World of Warcraft has hit ten million subscribers this year.
Players are not on themselves anymore, they get protection from a larger group. They form a clan, and these clan members share news and advices on strategy via their own community websites. Some of them even meet up and become close friends.
Like what happened in this exhibition, four unrelated people started to play Halo at the booth and became acquaintances by the end of the game.
Is video game isolation from the society or an enhancement of social interaction? The answer blurs again.
Stage four: Futurism.
Fingers are not enough.
In this section, you need to move your body.
A couple was playing boxing game in front of a big TV. Nothing was held in hand. They just had to move like real boxers. Their actions were captured by Sony Eyetoy’s digital camera, sent into the console, and appeared on the screen.
People around were cheering for them. Commenting as well. “I think Jeffery is winning. He always hits Jamie’s head.” As if they were spectators around the boxing ring.
In these futuristic technologies, physical interaction can be made with the game characters without joystick.
For example, you can direct Pikachu in the Pokemon game through a microphone. Or you can blow into the Nintendo DS to move the bubbles.
This new facet of video games has attracted a totally new consumer group – the mothers.
“I asked my husband to buy me a Wii Fit, because I can play yoga and aerobic.” Marrissa Co, who had not played video games for twenty years, said. “Exercise is good.”
After the tour, you might start to doubt that you have actually come to a gallery exhibition.
ACMI Visitor Support Officer Roberta Armetage observed the distinctiveness: “People just run around, speak loudly, and laugh freely, unlike other ‘serious’ and ‘sophisticated’ exhibition.”
“This is the first time I see so many young people in this space. And the first time I see them so enthusiastic.”
Regardless of age, it pulls out your playful self.
Congratulations, game accomplished!
Gamers, don't miss it!
Non-gamers, it's worthed a visit.