With the birth of the computer, came video games. From the earliest conceptions of computers which have less memory than our calculators, individuals were creating games to play on them. From Space Invaders destroying alien ships to Sonic the Hedgehog ambitiously running to collect points to the Sims creating whole new worlds, each video game not only represents a moment in history but have also contributed to our culture. While they once had the perception of individuals playing alone in a darkened basement, video games have proven they are not played in isolation and they are certainly not sedentary. With games that invite multiple players across the internet to work together in teams to launch tactical missions to even register our physical bodies and encourage us to dance or exercise, video games have become a part of our everyday lives!
The exhibit Game Masters at The Franklin Institute consumes over 14,000 square feet filled with 100 playable games. Alongside games that have transformed pop culture is the history of the artists and innovators whose forward thinking vision changed how we play. It is organized into three spaces so that the first spot you enter is Arcade Heroes that contains those classic games such as Donkey Kong in their original form. The second space is Game Changers which has games that mixed up how we played games. Sonic the Hedgehog, Sims and Lego games are buzzing in this location. The last space is the Indies which is home to Minecraft, Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja to name a few familiar names.
As with the special exhibits, you select an entry time; however, it is easy to spend hours playing on your favorite games or exploring lesser known games. The space is massive yet you can expect lines at the more popular or nostalgic games. When you enter the location, expect to be overwhelmed since it is a multi-sensory experience. As music blares from the different games, I recommend being prepared; however, everyone was incredibly nice even with wait times. So here are some of our highlights from this expansive landmark exhibit.
Must Do Moments at Game Masters Exhibit
Back to the Future
Step back in time to the origins of video games, and take a turn at the classic arcade games that were the grandparents to what is played today. Whether it is Donkey Kong or Space Invaders, you will see them immediately!
Bust a Move
One of the centerpieces to Game Masters is the massive multi-player dance floor so visitors can bust a move to Dance Central. The individuals ranged from teenagers to couples in their forties in what is an immersive experience. The winner of the day, however, was a teenage boy who bravely danced alone to “Ice Ice Baby” and did a wonderful job.
Ready Player One?
While some of the games involve single player, there are a lot of stations where there are multiple players invited to pick up a console. At Lego Star Wars, my son was getting veteran advice from a father who was showing his son how to play. Video games transcend age, and we are now in an era where parents play these games with their kids which is an opportunity to spend time together.
Play a New Game
While we have that one game that is our old reliable, with so many games available make sure to step outside your comfort zone and try a new game. For a tour of the exhibit, click on our video below!
After you visit Game Masters, check the daily itinerary for featured activities which surround video games. We visited during Minecraft Day that offered craft and problem solving activities as well as collectible cards that highlighted scientists. There was also a workshop to help you improve your performance on Minecraft. If this is your first visit to The Franklin, check out our recommendations for hands on fun.
The Franklin Institute is open daily from 9:30 am – 8 pm for extended summer hours. General admission is $23/adult and $19/child (ages 3-11). There is an additional fee for special exhibitions such as Game Masters which is open until September 3, 2018. To learn more, please visit their website!
Franklin Institute is located at 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
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