Could the museum exhibit “Game Changer” be the game changer for the gamer in your life?
The release of “Game Changers” will be Friday at the Science Museum of Minnesota — and it will also be open, along with the rest of the museum, on Presidents Day on Monday (a day that many of our gamers are off from school).
The exhibit, created and curated by a museum in Australia, spans 10,000 square feet. It goes into the history and evolution of video games, and includes more than 100 playable games. So it’s an arcade as well as an exhibit. No tokens are needed, because the exhibit and its features are included in the price of regular admission to the museum.
The games people will be able to play in the exhibit include Asteroids, Pac-Man, Angry Birds, Space Invaders, Sonic the Hedgehog, Fruit Ninja, Diablo, Minecraft and Rock Band 3.
It’s not just for gamers, though; you could say that the exhibit is rated “E” for everyone.
“It’s really multigenerational,” says Kim Ramsden, museum spokeswoman. “We’ve heard from other museums who have hosted it that adults will go in and feel excited to find the games they knew as a kid — they will be excited to show it to their kids; and then, by the end of the exhibit, kids will be able to show their parents the new games, games that kids are playing today. So it’s a really social experience.”
These types of games — played on clunky machines back in the early days and played on devices as small as our phones today — really have been game changers for how kids play, but the exhibit isn’t merely an arcade. Behind every game, after all, there are people and processes to educate and inspire us.
“It’s fascinating to learn about game designers,” Ramsden says, “their process and who they are.”
Their creations are teaching tools.
“In the scientific process, we talk about failure, we talk about getting up again after failing at something,” Ramsden says. “In video games, that happens a lot as you work through the levels.”
In that way, gamers are developing problem-solving skills and the art of collaboration as they play Minecraft or other popular games.
“There are parallels to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education,” says Ramsden.
We can also dance, thanks to Dance Central, an example of how gamers don’t always need a controller anymore.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Ramsden says.
Where: Science Museum of Minnesota, 120 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul
When: Opens Feb. 15 and runs through May 5.
Exhibit: Get the gamers in your life into the museum with this special exhibit inside the museum’s U.S. Bank Great Hall that takes visitors on an interactive journey into the history and the future of video games — including more than 100 playable games as well as rare concept artwork and interviews with designers. The exhibit is divided into three sections: Arcade Heroes (think the arcade era and beloved games like Pac-Man); Game Changers (think contemporary designers and how their games, such as SimCity, took gaming to the next level); and Indies (a look at today’s independent game designers and phenomena like Angry Birds, Minecraft and Fruit Ninja).
Admission: Included with regular Science Museum exhibit gallery admission ($19.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids ages 4 to 12 and seniors).