UK Exhibit Puts Classic Arcade Games and Consoles on Display

While only the staunchest fans of the classic cocktail arcade table even know what the Commodore 64 is, but organizers of the National Centre for Craft Design are looking to change this. Not only will oodles of vintage home gaming consoles be on display, but conceptual drawings and animated recreations will also be featured to help capture the attention of younger visitors. The exhibit highlights the ‘Golden Age of Arcade Gaming,’ spanning the late 70s to the 80s.

Actual game consoles will be on display, including the UK’s own ZX Spectrum. Considered to be the prototype for the computer gaming industry, the ZX Spectrum was wildly successful during the height of arcade gaming. Internal components of video game consoles will also be on display. Because many of the most prolific arcade games in the history of gaming were created during the ‘Golden Age,’ the exhibit will also profile designers, developers and legends.

Originally, computerized arcade game animations were drawn by hand, using grids. These grids were used to determine color palettes as well as draw the animations pixel by pixel. In retrospect, these animations may appear to be crude, but no other media came even close to producing the level of graphics that appeared in these arcade titles. The exhibit will also cover how early arcade games impacted popular culture.

The National Centre for Craft Design is mainly focusing on how the gaming industry was shaped in the UK, many of the concepts are universal. For example, some popular arcade titles were only ported to the ZX Spectrum. This led avid gamers from other nations to go to great lengths to import the console. Some of the very first home console modifications were performed on the ZX Spectrum, and it eventually became adopted internationally.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see this exhibit in person until early 2014. It is not known if the National Centre for Craft Design is considering displaying the exhibit outside of the UK, but if it gains enough followers it could find its way across the shores. This is one of the most detailed exhibits covering classic cocktail arcade table games and ports to ever be put together.