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Finally, after my being in China for four years, a gaming event was about to be held in the largest, most profitable video game market of the world, China, and that too in my own backyard, Shenzhen!
Being a 1990s kid who grew up with some of the best-designed consoles and video games of all times, it was obvious that I was going to attend the event; even if I have to lug my barely 5-month-old baby around with me.
So, come Saturday, Aug. 18, I was there at Game On in OCT Harbor with my baby sound asleep in her stroller, and with the exhibition open for another 10 hours, I thought I could really enjoy myself. Boy, was I wrong.
Upon arrival, despite having bought the highest priced ticket, I was denied entry to the exhibition. Reason: I couldn’t take the stroller inside with me.
I tried to persuade the guards to let us in but failed.
The next day when I had simmered down and my enthusiasm and curiosity was once again getting the better of me, I decided to give the event another chance.
This time I went on a Monday to save me some money — weekday tickets are cheaper than weekend tickets.
The exhibition is spread over three floors. The first is designed to give a feeling of an arcade arena. It’s dimly lit with two neat rows of arcade machines set along the walkway with some really retro yet cool games including “Missile Command,” “Pong,” “Space Invaders,” “Asteroids” and a game called “Puckman,” which seemed like a copy of Pacman, “Donkey Kong,” and even a “Star Wars” machine.
The second floor is dedicated to gaming consoles and it starts with two of the dinosaurs: Magnavox Odyssey and an Atari 7800. I had never expected to see these consoles except maybe online or in a gaming magazine.
The third floor is what is referred to as Game On 2.0. This section showcases the latest of the gaming industry; with the latest consoles, games and even a music corner sporting the latest full Rock Band set.
The gaming art enthusiasts will be glad to know that it’s not just games and consoles; the corridors are lined with quite a remarkable collection of posters, magazines, art works including “Mega Man,” “SimCity,” “Dragon’s Lair,” “Tomb Raider,” “Resident Evil,” “Final fantasy,” “Tron,” “Pixels” and “Ready Player One;” Some of them are old enough to be found only from collectors now.
While you can play and try most of the arcade machines and consoles, two of the gadgets that I was really looking forward to trying, Virtual Boy and the Power Glove designed exclusively for Nintendo Famicom, were under a glass dome; for viewing purpose only.
If you like video games or have been feeling nostalgic about your old video games, this exhibition will scratch your itch, and if you have some money to spare, you may even buy some collector’s-edition gadgets which may turn a decent profit in near future.
For now, visitors are mostly school students and teenagers with a few parents accompanying their kids. I hope more people will visit the exhibition to learn the history of the gaming industry, how it all came to be by not only viewing but also experiencing.
(The author is an aspiring writer with a passion for travel and photography.)