Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Computer Game Museum Berlin - Visit

Hi guys,

In December, I took a trip to Berlin to visit the Computer Game Museum there.  It was a really awesome little place, curated with a ton of original hardware, recreations of classic games, a replica 80's arcade, recreated period rooms and a bunch of displays on the history of gaming.  So here are some pics to share with ya all.  :)

This is a recreation of a machine from the 50's being demoed with TicTacToe.  The input was a telephone dial.  Really fun and smart.

Recreation of a 60s computer demo from a world's fair, playing a line crossing game.  Damn good AI.
Display about the old Winky Dink and You TV show, that had kids sticking a piece of plastic on their tv screen and then following the announcer's finger with a crayon to create pictures.  Basically the first interactive TV program.  Very cool and weird.

Recreation of the original Brown Box designed by Ralph Baer.  Not sure if this is one of the many replicas he built himself or not.

Computer Space... sadly not up and running... still... Computer Space.  The sign said "Do not touch".  I touched. 

And more Computer Space... seriously, is that not the coolest cabinet EVER?!?!

Original Pong Arcade cabinet.

Innards of said Pong cabinet.

Apple II Plus signed by Woz.

One long wall of the museum was dominated by a set of displays with classic consoles and computers, organized by year, with pull out boards giving info on each of the systems.  There were a lot of them, so just a few highlights here.

And another massive wall was this display.  Using a small joystick, you controlled a green target pointer across the wall and this would trigger a demo of the game in question as well as a screen with game information.  The games were given markings related to their societal impact, technical innovation, originality, etc.  Some pretty interesting choices that all made a lot of sense, inclusing Mystery House, E.T., Elite, Lemmings, Leisure Suit Larry and Pokemon.  Here some highlights:

There were also a ton of games to play, usually highlighted for specific game play experiences. 

Wipeout in 3D

A car racing game where the acceleration was connected to a stationary bike.

Five Player Pong

Poly-Play, a multi-game arcade cabinet, and the only arcade game ever released in East Germany.  It is running on what was then standard Z80 based computer hardware (got to play it for the first time a few weeks ago at a museum of East German computer tech, that's here in my town of Halle... probably should have written a post about that as well).  The games are all completely atrocious and/or derivative.  But still interesting to see it.

Then they also had display corners set up to recreate period gaming scenarios, including a 70's living room with a Pong clone console:
An early 80's game room (with a C64 running a Galaga clone) and home office (with a Hercules graphic PC and a weird little ASCII graphics game):
A late 80's kid's bedroom (with an NES running Zelda):
 And finally a mid 90's college dorm room (with a PSX running Tomb Raider):
There was also a mock Arcade, with four player Gauntlet, Super Hang-On, Centipede and Puck-Man (yes... the original board, not the US Pac-Man release) as a table top game.

And a quick video:

There were also a ton of displays, covering history, industry personalities, controllers, etc.  All with little interactive video displays, interviews with creators (very cool interview with the curator of the MAME project, talking about preserving data) and old news footage.  There was even a really cool ad video for Habitat the first graphical MMO by Lucasfilm (which looks to be running off of the Labyrinth engine)
I found the film on youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVpulhO3jyc

Ok, so if you're in Berlin, definitely check it out.  Also all displays are both in German and English.


  1. Great pictures Karl. This looks like a place I have to visit. Living in Denmark I'm not that far away from Berlin, so I'll definitely have to go there some time.

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