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Follow this gaming trail and go on a journey of exploration and discovery around the Science Museum.

Stop 1: Secret Life of the Home gallery

We start our gaming tour in the Secret Life of the Home gallery on Level -1. This gallery just so happens to be home to some of the oldest video game consoles, including the ever-popular Pong.

Pong game

This instantly recognisable tennis-game was outrageously popular in the seventies as it captured the hearts of thousands of first-generation digital gamers. But contrary to popular belief Pong wasn’t the first home games console. A mere two months before Pong crashed onto the scene in July 1972the Magnavox Odyssey was released.

The Odyssey was a relatively limited console which needed coloured screen overlays to provide different settings. Perhaps most surprisingly of all is that it came with physical game accessories such as a deck of cards, poker chips, and die. Sadly, the Odyssey was not considered a commercial success as by November 1972 it had been eclipsed by Pong.

From this same gallery, we enter the eighties, a decade that saw some of the greatest releases of all time, Pac-Man anyone? During the sunny summer of 1982, Clive Sinclair released the revolutionary ZX Spectrum.

ZX Spectrum keyboard

This was ‘it’ for home computing as it boasted ‘vivid colour and sound. High-resolution graphics. And a low price that’s unrivaled.’ Most importantly the Spectrum supported game cartridges. For many, just the sight of this keyboard brings back memories of nights spent in front of the TV playing Space Raiders, Hungry Horace, and Planetoids.

Stop 2: Making the Modern World gallery 

Your trip down gaming memory lane will bring you to the Making the Modern World gallery on Level 0, where you will stumble upon another familiar classic- the Nintendo Game Boy.

Tetris game screen
© MrPolliciOpponibili

Released in 1989 the Game Boy went on to dominate the handheld console market throughout the nineties. Despite being released in black and white it attracted ardent fans with its library of quality games such as Tetris and Super Mario Land, and in 1996 the console was further popularised by the Pokémon fever.

Incredibly, a Game Boy has been to space! In 1993 Russian astronaut Aleksandr A. Serebrov blasted off into space onboard his Soyuz TM-17 rocket with his trusty Game Boy and Tetris game pack. He confessed later that ‘in rare minutes of leisure, I enjoyed playing Game Boy.’

Stop 3: Engineer Your Future gallery 

With that, we enter the twenty-first century and with it, we enter a world of online gaming and apps. The Science Museum boasts various interactive games throughout its galleries and our next stop on this tour is the Engineer Your Future gallery. 

Rugged Rovers home screen

You can design and test your own all-terrain space rover in Rugged Rovers a game that challenges you to design your very own Mars rover and pits you against your friends and family to see who can travel the furthest across the alien landscape full of jumps, boulders, and slopes.

You can also download the game for free from the App Store or Google Play to play at home now.

Where to eat

The Diner

Finally stop off for some well-deserved lunch at The Diner and feast on an extensive menu of burgers, salads, and desserts whilst looking out over the Wellcome Wing and comparing game scores.

Try at home

If you can’t make it to the museum this time, take a look at our selection of online games and spring your way through thirty obstacle-filled levels in Launchball, challenge yourself in Transmission, or venture into the dark and get the lights back on in Total Darkness.

Free WiFi is available throughout the museum.

This post was originally inspired by Power UP, our hands-on and fully interactive gaming event. To be the first to find out when Power UP will return to the museum, sign up here