Wednesday, August 22

Game Masters: The n00bs Perspective

Back in July, Dutch had the good fortune to visit the Game Masters expo at Melbourne's ACMI. Unfortunately he walked away disappointed however since I don't own around 60% of the games on display like he does, and I play about 99% less games than him I thought I might come away a little more content.


I too walked away feeling somewhat empty; wanting more from what I had envisioned to be a great exhibit. For one it was quite small. If not for a friends quick words I almost inadvertently went to the toilet searching for the next gaming station.

Secondly, it was lacking. While this may be a generic, sweeping statement, the inability to take photos was disappointing especially when there is so much cool stuff on display - models, sketches, a wall of peripherals, a see-through Rock Band controller! I'd feel better about it if the catalogue showcased it all but it didn't.

The main problem was the number of games missing, including historic icons Tetris and Space Invaders. The curator may not have been able to track down a working original version or something but it was a thought shared vocally by a number of visitors during my time there.

But enough about the negatives and on with the positives. Walking into the exhibit to be welcomed by both Pacman and Donkey Kong arcade machines (among others) was amazing. I sucked hard at both but playing them in their original form gave me a new appreciation for them.

I also garnered a new appreciation for the Metal Gear series. When it was released on the Playstation back in 1998(ish) I was hooked. I spent way too many hours playing it. However when MGS 2 came out I wasn't won over at all. After seeing all the games together (including the blocky, green original) I've been inspired to give Metal Gear another chance - here's hoping for a success story.

While the 3D effects on Sonic: Generations molested my retinas, seeing a collection of work by Tim Schafer including original art and models made me feel better. His visual and comedic themes have always enthralled me. From Monkey Island to Day of the Tentacle and even Brutal Legend, his style is both infectious and unique.

A few steps to my left and the constant influx of school kids in my vicinity is usually an annoyance however this time it proved most entertaining as two (teenage) boys battled, quite uncoordinatedly, in a round of some Kinect dance game. It was like a train wreck - I couldn't look away no matter how horrible! Hats off to their public humiliation though. I would never have done that in front if my school class.

The way out featured more recent touch-based games on mobile and tv platforms, pointing the way to the future as we finish moving through the past.

Game Masters may not have met my expectations but I'm definitely glad to have gone. The playable history is like nothing I've ever experienced and being Friday it was only $10 entry (usually $15). Open until October 28, if you've got a spare hour or so and you're in town I suggest checking it out. If not, maybe hire out a retro collection or whip out Mario and live in the past once more.

Be warned though - the seagulls in Fed Square are vicious...

Images courtesy of Impulse Gamer and

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