Portable gaming exhibition hits Museum of Computing

Geek's paradise and Pocket-lint fave, the Museum of Computing, based in Swindon, UK, is looking back at 35 years worth of portable games consoles and devices in its new "Gaming on the Go" exhibition.

For it, the museum has garnered a mighty collection of electronic games, such as many of Nintendo's original flip-screen Game & Watch machines, Game Boys through all generations, and going as far back as Mattel's Auto Race, first released in 1976.

The Mattel handheld game was revolutionary at the time. It featured a 21 LED display with three lanes. Obstacles would scroll down them, and the player had to physically manoeuvre a car painted onto a small thumbstick in order to avoid them by switching from lane to lane. The inner gubbins sported a reprogrammed calculator chip as its central processor, and the game engine fitted into half a kilobyte of memory.

A far cry from the Nintendo 3DS, but no less fun at the time. And at least people didn't moan that it made them feel sick.

Auto Race is just one of over 50 exhibits, and many of them are available for visitors to play.

"It’s not often you get to see such an amazing collection all in one place," said museum curator Simon Webb. "This is a fascinating look at the machines, the games and the technology. It's certainly come a long way."

That said, you still can't beat a bright-yellow Galaxy Invader 1000 machine.

The Museum of Computing can be found in Swindon town centre at 6-7 Theatre Square, Swindon SN1 1QN. It's open Fridays from 10am to 4pm and Saturdays from 9.30am to 5pm. Admission is £5 for a family ticket, £2 for adults, £1.50 for students and concessions, £1 for children aged 6 - 15, and under 6s go free.

The Gaming on the Go exhibition runs until late summer 2011.



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