How long must games be around before they're considered worthy of historical cultural study?
About 44 years seems like a good number.
The BBC is reporting that the Science Museum in London will be hosting an exhibit next month showcasing the history of video games. The exhibit covers the birth of video gaming on the DEC PDP-1 in 1962, with the creation of Spacewar (screen shot at left), through to recent consoles and handhelds including the Nintendo DS, Xbox, and PlayStation2.
The exhibit, called Game On, will look at the science of games, as well as their cultural influences. Classics, including Spacewar, Pong, Pac-man, and Asteroids, will be available for hands-on play, along with more modern titles.
The exhibit covers games from each decade, charting the evolution of game design, technology such as controllers, game engines and consoles, and the study of the relationship between visual stimuli and motor response (ye olde "hand-eye coordination", essential to the top gamers). Also on display is how the regional cultural differences impacted games, from North America, to Europe, to Japan.
Design and marketing is examined, including the use of music and sound as well as cross-media influences with movies and anime.
And finally, the positive and negative impacts of video games are also debated. Topics cover the use of games as a teaching aid, as well as the societal and health impacts of gaming.
For more information, check out the London Science Museum's info page for Game On.
-Reporting from Canada, where he was disappointed to find out they didn't mean London, Ontario, GP Correspondent Colin "Jabrwock"