MuseoGames at Musée des Arts et Métiers

As written by Brendan Seibel for Vingtparis :

Video games were the vanguard of our computer age. Once strictly the stricken domain of asthmatics and anemics they have burst from basements and arcades into popular culture, infecting movies and music along the way. As geeks celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mario, Luigi, The Princess and Koopa Troopas, Musée des Arts et Métiers hosts MuseoGames.

Spanning Pong to today’s fully rendered wonders the curators have cast a wide net. Visitors can divide their time by riding the thin line between education and entertainment. Audio stations and flatscreens collect words of wisdom from a long lineage of programmers, writers and other contributors to the world of games.

Twenty-four consoles dominate the center of the hall, where dinosaurs like Missile Command join Arkanoid, Sonic the Hedgehog, Metal Slug, Goldeneye and today’s hot properties like Top Spin. Tucked away in the rear, respecting the marginalized hovels of yesteryear, is a mini-arcade with eight games. As the 3D trend once again rears its ugly head spending a little time with Sega’s Hologram Time Traveler reminds you that this too shall pass.

Itchy fingers will be ecstatic but fatigued parents and doomed dates should keep an open mind. In addition to several stabs at presenting video games as a serious movement MuseoGames pulls a paleontological coup by collecting a wide variety of artifacts: Ataris, Nintendos, tape-driven games and CPUs. Design students can note changes over thirty years of computing evolution. Cultural commentators can examine the failed trends of virtual reality vests and handheld Frogger. It might be the only time in your life you’ll ever see a Jaguar, and the last chance to reflect upon an Intellivision.

Approaching the exhibition lends cause for consternation as there is every indication videos games are rendered lifeless. Save the backhanded homage to Tetris cut into linoleum flooring the entrance is generic. An audio-station of essays on the industry’s history and introductory video (offline at the time of Vingt’s visit) do nothing to quell fears that textbooks on game design lay ahead.

Safely ensconced within the roar of digital bleeps and bursts of light is the world of Tron. Television walls rotate games treasured and forgotten, their soundtracks colliding in the air. The main gallery pairs each of the two dozen playable consoles with projections, imbuing the light-industrial pastiche in the cold flickering of a televised yule log. It’s the victory of a childhood wish to model a heaven where no quarters are needed.

MuseoGames
Through 7 November 2010
Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-18:00
Until 21:30 on Thursdays

Gaming blocks begin every hour and a half. Tickets can be used three times per day.

Musée des Arts et Métiers ,60 rue Réaumur, 75003 Paris, Mº Arts et Métiers/Réaumur-Sébastopol

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