Game On 2.0 Exhibit Going on Now at the Ontario Science Centre

The Ontario Science Centre is currently running an ongoing showcase of the history of video games called Game On 2.0. Presented by triOS College with financial assistance from the Ontario Cultural Attractions fund and support from AMD Canada, the exhibit will last through September 2nd, 2013 and is included with the standard admission to the centre (also available by calling 416-696-1000).

“Video games have changed the way we think, learn and play” said Lesley Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Science Centre. “They have evolved from a leisure activity focused on youth to an activity that engages people of all ages for purposes of education, mental stimulation or simply fun. This immersive exhibition gives visitors a powerful perspective on the past, present and future of video games.”

“The phenomenon of video games continues to grow in popularity, with Ontario being the hub of this thriving creative sector industry,” said Tourism, Culture, and Sport Minister Michael Chan. “By exploring this prevalent part of our culture, the Ontario Science Centre’s Game On 2.0 exhibition will have widespread appeal for visitors of all ages. Our government is delighted to assist the centre in bringing this exhibition to Canada.”

Mario-Girl

My wife and I had a chance to attend prior to the official opening last week, and let me just say that the entire exhibit is incredible. Walking through it, I got to see so many games and machines, many of which I’m quite familiar with and many more I’ve only seen in books, magazines, or online– I think even the Video Game History Museum at E3 paled in comparison to this, and that is no small feat.

For the first time, I was able to play the original arcade Pong, an actual Famicom, as well as the MSX 2 version of Vampire Killer, an obscure part of the Castlevania series. One station with Tetris actually played the game with a Super Game Boy controller, another Japanese-exclusive item. More recent titles were on display as well, including Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed— which I once again couldn’t play, as the system had frozen (the only one in the place I saw that did so, I might add). Clearly, the universe doesn’t want me to play that game.

But I digress; other experiences included arcade machines such as Out Run, Vs. Super Mario Bros., and Pac-Man Plus. One display allowed for up to four players to smash it up in Super Smash Bros. Melee while Gauntlet played behind them. Another allowed players to try out Kinect’s motion-sensing gameplay, while a nearby wall showed off a history of games for kids, including plenty of Pokemon and portable devices.

Retro-3D

If you’re interested in how 3D has developed, one section of the exhibit features that as well. You’ll be able to compare the North American and Japanese releases of Rad Racer, the former of which using simple red/blue lenses to try to achieve the effect, while the latter allows you to try on the Japanese-exclusive Famicom 3D System shutter glasses, which provide a more convincing effect.

In that same area, you’ll also find the infamous Virtual Boy, as well as the “Virtusphere”:

Visitors will experience complete immersion in virtual reality with the Canadian premiere appearance of the Virtusphere. A three metre (10-foot) hollow sphere that allows a user to enter and run freely while wearing a wireless, head-mounted display, the Virtusphere offers the ultimate within-the-game locomotion interface. According to the Discovery Channel, “this new invention is a virtual reality tool that comes closer than most to the Holodeck of Star Trek fame.”

Much to my regret, I didn’t get to try that one out.

In addition to the playable games and consoles, there are plenty of other exhibits which document the history of the medium. Vintage game magazines, displays of various merchandise for game like Parappa the Rapper and Tomb Raider, designer sketches of Donkey Kong, the evolution of Sonic the Hedgehog, and even a wall of posters from numerous video game-based movies, from Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter to Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia.

Atomiswave-Boys

There is probably a lot I’m forgetting here, as there are over 150 games on display (listed after the gallery below). Suffice to say, if you like video games or are merely curious about them, then this is a must-see exhibit. Young or old, it doesn’t matter– there’s something for everyone here. I didn’t even get to see it all, but I definitely plan on going back before they pack up shop on September 2nd.

One final note is that prior to opening the exhibit, a short three-person panel was held with people from Ubisoft Toronto, the University of Toronto, and a local independent game developer. They discussed such issues as violence in video games and the future of the medium, including one slightly-depressing note of how, thanks to such things as always-online connections in games such as the recently-released SimCity, a look back at the current period of gaming 20 years from now could prove very difficult.

There were some cameras on hand, and if I learn that a video of the panel has been posted, I will share it with you here.

List of Games
(Please note that this list is subject to change.)

With something for everyone, Game On 2.0 spans the full spectrum of video game history and culture, with more than 150 playable games, including:

1. A Shadows Tale – Nintendo Wii
2. Aaaaa Reckless disregard for Gravity – PC
3. Adventure – Atari 2600
4. Akumajo Dracula – MSX
5. Alan Wake – Microsoft Xbox 360
6. Animal Crossing – Nintendo Gamecube
7. Arcadia Arcade Machine (6 Games)
8. Asteroids
9. Atomiswave – Arcana Heart Full
10. Big Bird’s Egg Catch – Atari 2600
11. BMX Flyer – Electronic Game
12. Bob the Builder – Nintendo Wii
13. Buck Rogers – `Planet of Zoom
14. Burnout 2 – Sony Playstation 2
15. Caveman – Electronic Game
16. Centipede
17. Child of Eden – Microsoft Xbox 360
18. Chillingham – PC
19. Chip Chap Kick – NEC PC-FX
20. Combat – Atari 2600
21. Commodore 64 – Wizball
22. Cosmic Smash – Sega Net City
23. Dance Dance Revolution – New Moves – Playstation 3
24. Daytona USA Twin Unit Cockpit
25. Daytona USA Twin Unit Cockpit
26. Dead or Alive Ultimate 2 – Microsoft Xbox
27. Deathsmiles – Microsoft Xbox 360 (US)
28. Defender
29. Dirt 3 – Microsoft Xbox 360
30. DoDonPatchi Revolution – Microsoft Xbox 360
31. Donkey Kong
32. Donkey Kong – Electronic Game
33. Dragons Lair – Nintendo Wii
34. Firefox F7 – Electronic Game
35. Forza 4 – Microsoft Xbox 360
36. Galaga
37. Gate of Thunder – PC Engine
38. Gauntlet
39. Go By Train 3 – Sony Playstation 2
40. Golden Eye 007 – Nintendo Wii
41. Golden Tee Golf Upright
42. Goldeneye – Nintendo 64
43. Gorf
44. Gran Turismo 5 – Sony Playstation 3
45. Guitar Hero 5 – Warriors of Rock – Xbox 360
46. Half Life 2 (Orange Box) – Xbox 360
47. Halo – Microsoft Xbox
48. Halo reach – Microsoft Xbox 360 (US)
49. Hanuman – Playstation 2
50. Harvest Moon : Grand Bazaar – Nintendo DS
51. Hey You Pikachu – Nintendo 64
52. Highway Star – Nintendo Famicom
53. Indy 500 – Atari 2600
54. Jak and Daxter – Sony Playstation 2
55. Joe Danger – Playstation 3
56. Katamari Forever – Sony Playstation 3
57. King of Fighters 98 – MVS Cartridge
58. KOF XIII – Microsoft Xbox 360 (US)
59. Leave Home – PC
60. Legend of Zelda – Nintendo NES (US)
61. Lemmings – Commodore Amiga
62. Little Big Planet 2 – Sony Playstation 3
63. Magnavox Odyssey – Tennis game
64. MAME – PC
65. Mappy
66. Mario 64 – Nintendo 64
67. Mario All Stars + Super Mario World – Super Nintendo
68. Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games – Nintendo Wii
69. Mario Bros – Nintendo Famicom
70. Mario Kart 64 – Nintendo 64
71. Mario Tennis – Nintendo Virtual Boy
72. MB Simon Electronic Game
73. Metroid – Nintendo NES (US)
74. Metroid Prime Trilogy – Nintendo Wii
75. Missile Command
76. Monaco GP
77. Music Pod – PC
78. NBA JAM TE
79. NIA mind controller – PC
80. Nintendogs – Nintendo 3DS
81. Odin Sphere – Sony Playstation 2
82. Outrun
83. Pachinko – Urusei Yatsura
84. Pac-Man
85. Para Para Paradise – Sony Playstation 2
86. Parappa the Rapper 2 – Sony Playstation 2
87. Penny Arcade Replica
88. Phoenix Tabletop
89. Pilotwings Resort – Nintendo 3DS
90. Pinball – Egghead
91. Pinball – Space Riders
92. Pinball – The Machines – Bride of Pinbot
93. Pipe Dream – Nintendo NES (US)
94. Pitfall – Atari 2600
95. Pokemon Black – Nintendo DS
96. Pokemon Yellow – Gameboy
97. Pokepark Wii : Pikachus Adventures – Nintendo Wii
98. Pong
99. Portal 2 – Microsoft Xbox 360
100. Prince of Persia – Sega Megadrive
101. Prince of Persia – The Forgotten Sands – Microsoft Xbox 360
102. Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 – Microsoft Xbox 360
103. Pump it Up
104. Puzzle Bobble MVS Cartridge
105. Rad Racer – Nintendo NES (US)
106. Rave Racer Cockpit
107. Rayman Origins – Microsoft Xbox 360
108. RC Pro AM – Nintendo NES
109. Rez – Sony Playstation 2
110. Ridge Racer – Sony Playstation
111. Road Champion
112. Sargent Salvo
113. Saturn Bomberman – Sega Saturn
114. Scramble
115. Secret of Monkey Island – PC
116. Sim City – Commodore Amiga
117. Sinclair Spectrum – Death Chase
118. Sokoban – Sega Megadrive
119. Sonic Generations – Microsoft Xbox 360
120. Sonic Mega Collection – Nintendo Gamecube
121. Sony PSP – Gran Turismo
122. Sony PSP – Little Big Planet
123. Sony PSP – Loco Roco 2
124. Soul Calibur – Sega Dreamcast
125. Space Invaders Tabletop
126. Space Invaders Upright
127. Space Wars
128. Star Soldier – Nintendo Famicom
129. Star Wars Arcade
130. Steel Battalion – Microsoft Xbox
131. Street Gangs – Nintendo NES
132. Super Breakout – Atari 2600
133. Super Monkey Ball – Nintendo Gamecube
134. Super Smash Bros Melee – Nintendo Gamecube
135. Super Streetfighter IV Arcade Edition – Microsoft Xbox 360
136. Superswing Golf – Nintendo Wii
137. Tekken Tag Tournament – Sony Playstation 2
138. Tempest 2000 – Atari Jaguar
139. Tetris – Nintendo Gameboy
140. Texas Instruments Speak and Spell
141. The Sims 3 (With Pets Expansion Pack) – PC
142. Thunderforce IV – Sega Megadrive
143. Tomb Raider – Sony Playstation
144. Track and Field
145. Trauma Team – Nintendo Wii (US)
146. Trigger Heart Excelia – Sega Dreamcast
147. Tron – Electronic Game
148. Tron Arcade
149. Uncharted 3 – Sony Playstation 3
150. Utopia – Mattel Intellivision
151. Vib Ribbon – Sony Playstation
152. Virtua Fighter 2
153. Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution – Sony Playstation 2
154. Vs Super Mario Brothers – Nintendo Vs
155. Vs Tennis – Nintendo Vs
156. Warning Forever – PC
157. World of Warcraft – PC
158. X-Blades – Sony Playstation 3 (US)
159. Yaroze Games – Sony Playstation 2
160. Zelda – Nintendo 64

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David Oxford

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you're interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.