Games that are history, characters turned into icons, sounds recorded in memory ... Video games came into our lives decades ago leaving a deep mark that endures today. Now, they return to Madrid as never before. Game On The history of the 1972-2020 video game , the largest international exhibition on this industry, lands at the Canal Foundation to offer a complete look at this universe, where entertainment merges with art. A paradise for nostalgic and gamers where you can see, hear and ... play!

In the space enabled in 214 de la Castellana until May 31, what and how impress even non-fans. Some 400 original pieces and more than 150 playable titles traverse the evolution and culture of video games, from the primitives that hosted the arcades - or arcades - to the latest releases and emerging technologies. From Pong to The Sims, from Donkey Kong to Street Fighter , from Mario to Lara Croft ... The list is endless.

All this framed with a design based on the mythical games of the eighties, set with neon light lines of fluorine colors and accompanied by a musical atmosphere capable of bringing the visitor back to the past.

Seen by more than 3,000,000 million people since 2002, when this project started, Game On now arrives in Spain curated by the Barbican Center in London to become one of the star Christmas exhibitions.

History Review

Throughout its 2,500 square meters, and among dozens of curiosities, the exhibition reviews the people and technologies that revolutionized videogames and analyzes from the complex design process to the commercialization of some of the most important games of the recent times In addition, it includes for the first time three games developed by Spanish companies , as explained by the associate commissioner of the show, Patrick Moran, on the day of its presentation.

Daytona Usa, a racing video game of the first 'arcade'.

The Game On tour , divided into 15 thematic sections, begins, as it could not be otherwise, by the origins of this story. The first game that was created, Spacewar! (1962), shares space with the first one that was commercially launched to the market, Computer Space (1971), and with the one considered by the general public as the first arcade game , Pong (1972), available so that the visitor can be putting about your skills.

And from the first games, to the machines that reigned in the arcades in the 80s and that hosted, as can be seen in the exhibition, some of the most emblematic premieres, such as Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pac-Mac, Donkey Kong or Street Fighter .

Home video games

The evolution of home video games, from the first console, Magnavox Odyssey (1972), to the most current ones, with Play Station in the lead, can be seen in the Top Ten section. The 10 most influential home consoles and the games that made them popular are shown alongside little-known formats from the five major manufacturers: Atari, Nintendo, Sega, Microsoft and Sony.

The review of portable consoles , of great success among adolescents in the 90s - and today unbanked by mobiles - attracts attention during the visit. The popular Mattel soccer game and the Game Boy , the first portable console with cartridges, are shown alongside dozens of small machines, where the popular Nintendo DS is not lacking.

Some of the portable game consoles on display.

Simulation games , from the most primitive - like Sttel Battalion's military robots - to the most current ones also have a place in the show, in a space where the fantastic intermingles with reality. And, along with them, you can also contemplate children's games , designed for parents and children to interact virtually. The games exposed to recognize shapes and colors, learn numbers or know the alphabet demonstrate the didactic approach with which they were born and with which they continue to grow.

In the space dedicated to the genres you can see, and test, the different types of games that the industry has been developing to encourage increasingly prolonged and complex games between players. Currently divided into nine genres - sports, adventure, platforms, logic, shooting, FPS (first person shooting), action, racing and fighting - the list, as perceived in Game On , continues to grow.

From Mario to Lara Croft

And prominent characters occupy a place. So important, or more, than the games themselves. Drawings of Mario and a sculpture of almost two meters of Lara Croft stand out in this section, where it is announced how they were created and how some of the most iconic characters have evolved throughout their existence.

A sketch of a character exposed in 'Game On'.

And from what you see to what is hidden behind each of the most famous video games in history, from its development to marketing. How video games are manufactured and the number of actors involved in its creation is displayed in a space for the most curious, from the first sketches of the most famous creators of the industry to the promotional materials used by it to reach the Big audience.

The close relationship that video games have with cinema is analyzed in another area, where they share space games and movie posters. There are clear examples of influence on both sides. How Donkey Kong was inspired by the King Kong movie and how the arcade game Tron was based on the Disney film of the same name.

Videogames in the world presents games developed in various places, from areas of great tradition , such as France, USA, United Kingdom or Japan, to those created in countries where its development is incipient, such as Russia, Hungary, North Korea and Spain. Here we analyze how the popularity of different genres varies from one country to another - in the USA the most violent triumphs and in Europe the most sophisticated ones - and consoles manufactured in different parts of the planet are exhibited.

A visitor tries the latest in 3D technology.

And how the creation of amateur games has resurfaced with the intention of returning to the basics of this entertainment is discussed in the section Independent Games . The ease of distribution that the Internet allows, the existence of easy-to-use tools and the support of the large market have motivated the rise of this type of games , as shown in the sample.

The importance of multiplayer games , key at the beginning of arcade video games , continues today through the Internet, which allows dozens of people to play together thousands of kilometers away. World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Just Dance , Street Fighters, Overwatchi or Starcraft stand out among the titles on Game On .

Virtual immersion

And from the present to the future. The new experiences that video game creators are developing can be seen in the Virtual Immersion section, where the latest in 3D visualization technology is exposed. Games that allow to follow the movement through cameras or sensors and that allow the player to be an extension of the game itself can be seen and tested in this place.

Space dedicated to sound.

At the end of the tour, although not less important, Game On reminds one of the main elements of video games: sound . Its role alongside the graphics is indisputable because ... who does not remember the iconic sound of Mario's coin, the Pac-Mac's when eating pixels or the game over effect?

Bits , a sound and audiovisual installation by artist Daniel Canogar, mounted with hundreds of pieces of discarded video consoles, closes the exhibition, from which it exits through a tunnel with lights that dance along with the music.


What can be seen

The first commercial arcade video game, Computer Space; the first of commercial success, Pong; the first domestic console, Magnavox Odyssey; or the first game in which Mario appears, Donkey Kong, are exhibited.

What can be played

Among the more than 150 playable titles are Fifa Soccer, Gran Turismo, Guitar Hero, Pac-Man, Pong, Tetris, NBA Jam, Angry Birds, Donkey Kong, The Sims, Street Fighter, Super Mario, Minecraft, Sonic of Hedgehog or Rock band.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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