The world's largest video game museum was opened early this year in Berlin. The Computerspielemuseum (Computer Game Museum), located on Karl-Marx-Allee, unveiled a new permanent exhibition, Computer Games: Evolution of a Medium. Previously, the museum had only temporary displays while the bulk of the museum's collection was dedicated to several touring exhibits.
Over 300 video and computer systems and stand-alone games dating from 1951 until the present obtained from around the world are on display at Computerspielemuseum, many of which are playable.
Among the products on display are the Nimrod--an incredibly rare game-playing computer from 1951, the first ever arcade game, 1971's ComputerSpace which guests can play, Cold War-era strategy game Balance of Power and numerous rare video games from the former Eastern Bloc.
Video game systems on display include the first commercial video game system, the Magnavox Odyssey (1972), the Milton Bradley Microvision, a hand-held game console from 1978 and the BSS-01, an ultra-rare East Germany video game console from 1980. Guests also have the opportunity to try out a rare 1994-vintage virtual-reality gaming system alongside more conventional options such as the Nintendo Entertainment System and the various members of the Playstation family.
Guests at the museum have their choice of several original installations. A “Jumbo Joystick” is based on rare 1977 Atari plans for a human-sized joystick that, in reality, needs two people to operate. According to the museum, “The huge Atari Jumbo Joystick, which was made in 1977, depends on the employment of the entire body and, ideally, good interaction between two players for its operation, as it is almost impossible for one player to use the joystick and control buttons at the same time.”
Another original and interesting installation is PainStation. The game is an adaptation of the classic "Pong". If the player misses a ball, he or she will be subjected to one of three physical penalties (heat, electric shock, whipping), depending on which symbol the ball hits. Instead of hitting the ball in order to attain the highest score, the player has to avoid missing the ball in order to avoid being penalised. Physical punishment is an integral part of the game. The player loses as soon as he or she removes his or her left hand from the related surface. The game, which was created by German artists Tilman Reiff and Volker Morawe, was originally developed in 2001 with the motto “no game, no pain.”
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