World’s Largest Interactive Video Game Exhibition Opens in Edinburgh

©Duncan McGlynn

The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh unveiled “Game On”, the world’s largest interactive video game exhibition on Saturday (June 29). The exhibition, curated by Barbican Immersive, celebrates the rich history and cultural impact of video games, featuring over 100 playable games spanning 50 years, from Space Invaders to Mario.

Originally launched in 2002 at the National Museum of Scotland, “Game On” has captivated over 5 million visitors across 25 cities worldwide. This year, it returns with a renewed focus on Scotland’s pivotal role in shaping the global gaming landscape. “It’s great to welcome ‘Game On’ back to the National Museum of Scotland,” says Dr Geoff Belknap, Keeper of Science and Technology at the National Museum of Scotland, expressing his enthusiasm. “

“As someone in charge of Scotland’s national science and technology collections, it’s exciting to explore the country’s incredible contribution to gaming, past and present,” he added, saying: “I’m delighted to bring Scottish independent games to a new audience, including The Longest Walk, a pioneering project exploring the experience of living with mental health issues, and Highland Song, a beautiful adventure through the Scottish landscape.”

Exploring the Evolution

“Game On” offers a journey through gaming history, organized into thematic sections. The exhibition features the largest playable collection in the world, including classic arcades, handheld consoles, and iconic titles like Pac-Man, Super Mario, Tetris, Sonic the Hedgehog, Just Dance, and FIFA. Each section highlights technological advancements and explores the cultural intersections of gaming with music, film, and art.

“The gaming world has had an undeniable social, cultural, and technological impact. Games transcend the boundaries between art and technology, becoming part of popular culture,” said Patrick Moran, Game On Associate Curator. He highlighted the immersive nature of the exhibition, adding, “Game On presents the opportunity to not only see the evolution of video games and how they have changed over time but also to immerse yourself inside gaming worlds with over 100 playable games.”

Scotland’s Gaming Legacy

Scotland’s gaming legacy shines at the exhibition, spotlighting trailblazers like Rockstar Games, masterminds behind Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. For the first time, visitors can enjoy exclusive artefacts from the developer’s archive, including limited edition merchandise and the rare ‘Key to Liberty City’ from Grand Theft Auto IV.

Jennifer Kolbe, Head of Publishing at Rockstar Games, praised Scotland’s contributions, saying, “Scotland has played an instrumental part in the evolution of video games as a medium. We’re excited to help the National Museum of Scotland reveal more about the nation’s contributions to this thriving aspect of modern culture.”

The exhibition also honours Scottish gaming history, from Dundee’s ZX Spectrum in the 1980s to contemporary successes like Sad Owl Studios’ BAFTA-winning Viewfinder. It also highlights 4J Studios’ pivotal role in transforming Minecraft into a global phenomenon. Chris van der Kuyl, Chairman of 4J Studios, notes his enthusiasm saying, “Scotland is driving innovation in the games industry [and] ‘Game On’ is a fantastic showcase of this pioneering sector and its significant cultural contributions.”

Visitor Information

“Game On” runs until November 3rd, with tickets available for pre-booking on the museum’s website. Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or new to the world of video games, this exhibition is a must-see, offering a fascinating journey through the evolution of a beloved medium.

Words by Khushboo Malhotra

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