The Games Lounge, originally situated in the museum’s foyer, was closed in November 2011 to make way for the new Life Online gallery. Due to its popularity we then decided to rebuild the videogames gallery within a more permanent space—up on the fifth floor next to the Animation Gallery.
All the old favourites are still there, including a collection of original arcade cabinets and cocktail tables. Titles include four-player Gauntlet, Pac-Man, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Galaxian, Donkey Kong, Street Fighter II and Point Blank.
Our bank of home gaming classics including Pong, Manic Miner, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Super Mario Kart and four-player GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64 are also still available for you to enjoy, plus we’ve added a few bonus features.
To connect with the Animation Gallery, the new Games Lounge highlights how different types of animation are used within videogames. An emulated PC version of Prince of Persia from 1989 showcases the technique of rotoscoping—a method that involves the animator drawing over the top of video footage frame-by-frame to create fluid movement. You can watch the original video footage filmed by the game’s designer Jordan Mechner on YouTube:
Mechner filmed his brother leaping and sliding around a car park to achieve exactly the right type of movement for the Prince’s character. Mechner has also done a fantastic job of archiving his original design journals and personal diaries from the period when he was producing the game. Mechner was kind enough to let us use some of the scans from his notebook within the Games Lounge to show how a designer approaches creating levels, characters and puzzles.
Take a look at Jordan Mechner’s website to find out more.
Actua Soccer by Gremlin Interactive is also available to play on the PlayStation 1 console as one of the earliest games to show the potential of motion-captured animation. Gremlin used players from the Sheffield Wednesday football team to act out real movements and breathe human life into the 3D computer models—something that has now become a standard technique in modern sports games.
We’ve also been working with designer Richard England to produce a Microsoft Kinect interactive to demonstrate how the camera detects and tracks human movement. A projection cycles through an assortment of experimental particle effects to demonstrate the flexibility and open architecture of the Kinect software.
So if you’re hankering for some retro arcade gaming action or interested to see the latest videogames technology, make sure to pay a visit to our brand new Games Lounge. Also, if you’ve visited and would like to leave a comment it’d be great to know what you think. We’re always looking for ways to make our galleries better so please do contribute your thoughts.