Lets Take a Trip To Video Game Museum in Berlin
Let me start off by saying I am huge fan of video games, it's industry I am absolutely enamored with. My first ever memory I can recount is playing Super Mario 64, I took away many a lesson about morality, choice, and how those choices affect those around you, and even management of resources were all things I've learned more from video games instead of some cramped up room with thirty chairs a couple tables, and an adult who was telling me how to think.
Which is why, when I heard of this museum, I had to check it out as soon as I could. Something so significant and influential in my life had to be explored more than it already was, and I have to say, I'm extremely impressed. Starting off, the ticket price is a simple 8 euro, nothing fancy, nothing bank breaking either, you get your ticket along with instructions on any of the videos. This is where the fun begins. As told to me by one of the employees working there, the primary appeal behind video games is the level of interactivity, so it's natural that the museum also had a level of interactivity to it. Alongside the massive display of various consoles, home computers, there are also videos showcasing video games which were a milestone in their respective field of genre (Such as the Escape from Monkey Island video game, a game which is still to this day considered a gem in the point'n'click genre)
It's definitely a niche museum, you're not going to drag in someone who highly values literature and nothing but literature and have them coming out wanting to buy a computer/console and immediately have them write on various forums to do with video games, however, what this museum does do is solidify video games as much more than just “children's toys” as they have long been seen in the public eye, which is strange seeing as how the industry at large has been making so much more money than the movie industry has.
Interactivity as stated before is very clearly a focus point on the museum in general. There's a huge piece on the wall with a cross hair, you control the cross hair with a controller that is provided for you, and as you hover over certain games, you can watch little clips of very famous (and infamous) games, there are cards you can pull out that give you detailed information on the various hardware on display (which, as I've been told, majority is in fact originally made, with only a handful of pieces of tech being second edition or third edition)
Videos provide plenty of backdrop information on games, or designs that made games a staple in their respective field, how World of Warcraft became the heaving juggernaut impossible to beat in an industry context, telling you how designs came to be.
Another great piece is looking at design concepts and seeing how basic the designs were in their inception. It shows how an industry that has turned into a massive juggernaut has had nothing more than humble origins with some of the concept art.
Upon entering a couple of photographs will catch the eye to the right or left, a wall of fame of sorts, featuring Hideo Kojima, Steve Wozniak, Nolan Bushnell (the father of the arcade) and the most notable being Ralph Baer (inventor of the first home console)
I also got the chance to talk to an employee of the museum, after the joke aside of asking if their interview question featured being asked what their favorite franchise was, I also asked some more personally interesting questions. The answers are more than interesting, they happen to have over 20,000 games in an archive of theirs, an archive which is slowly being digitized for the sake of keeping their memory alive (physical software degrades with time) with things like emulators being set up to increase the interactivity of the museum. So far, no plans to expand are being made either.
Finally, I got an answer to a question I've been pondering for a while. How alive is gamer culture in Berlin? It seems very lively here, with pixel art shows, 8-bit music shows, gamer cafe's, a gamers festival in April, game based slam poetry, and a variety of other things which will accommodate to any gamer English and German alike.
All in all, the museum helped to revive a passion for an industry which was slowly fading for me, and for that I must thank the museum.
By Florian Schmidt
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