Spacewar! at the Museum of the Moving Image – video games galore, and you can play them


The scene as you ascend the stairs and enter the exhibit

Today is the first day of the new exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image called Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off. We had a chance to check out the exhibit – and play a bunch of the video games – and thought it was all pretty dang cool. Here’s what it’s all about:

Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off looks at the first 50 years of video games through the lens of Spacewar!, the first digital video game, its development, and the culture from which it sprang. In addition to a model of the original PDP-1 (Programmed Data Processor-1) computer running a playable simulation of Spacewar!, the exhibition presents 20 playable video games ranging in platform (arcade, console, handheld, PC), genre (shooters, platformers, action, arcade) and developer (commercial, independent, experimental). From Missile Command to Halo 4, and from Star Fox to Portal, the exhibition draws connections and contrasts between these games and Spacewar!, signaling the latter’s central place in the development of video games as a cultural form.

For those of you that remember the heyday of arcade video games – the late 1970s to early 1980s – a lot of the games will be really familiar, such as Space Invaders, Defender, and Missile Command.


We also enjoyed playing Tempest, too.


There are a variety of hand held video games, too.


It was also cool to see Portal (PS3), the legendary puzzle game.


We took a little video of it – gotta love that singsong robot voice.


Here is the full list of video games – which you can play yourself (you’ll get 4 complimentary tokens with admission):

Spacewar! (1961–62), PDP-1 model
Computer Space (1971), arcade
Space Wars (1977), arcade
Space Invaders (1978), arcade
 (1979), arcade
Battlezone (1980), arcade
Defender (1980), arcade
Missile Command (1980), arcade
Planet Zeon (1982), Tomytronic 
 (1982), arcade
Yars’ Revenge (1982), Atari Video Computer System
Star Wars (1983), arcade
Metroid II: Return of Samus (1991), Game Boy
Galaxy Force II (1988), arcade
Galaga ‘91 (1991), Game Gear
Star Fox (1993), Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Vertical Force (1995), Virtual Boy
Portal (2007), PS3
Osmos (2009), iPad
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010), Wii
Halo 4 (2012), Xbox 360

This exhibition will be on display for about 3 months on the third floor, and goes from December 15 to March 3, 2013.

Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off [MOMI]
The Art of Rise of the Guardians at MOMI in Astoria [QNYC]

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