PrintE-mail Written by Tom Acton

It’s the summer, and you’re worried about your kids. Ever since the final bell rung at school, they haven’t left their computers or consoles, and you feel it’s time for an intervention. Unfortunately, they weren’t really that excited about the concept of going camping, because there’s no Wi-Fi, and nowhere that they can charge their phone or Nintendo DS.

If you’re having this problem (and you’re in or around the Manchester area), then the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry has you covered. Because there’s a whole exhibit on about the history of Video Games on right now! Thanks to a partnership with Replay Events, Play It! Manchester is hitting the town. Going to this event is like getting on a train fuelled by pixels, pizza and nostalgia.

Play It! Manchester is edutainment taken to a whole new level, where kids and adults alike can go to learn about the history of games. People of the new generation might not know their Megadrives from their SNESes, but they’ll be leaving the event fascinated by them (or at the very least, more thankful for their modern consoles). And even if your child isn’t entertained by the bleeps and bloops of the arcade section, or the polygons of the Nintendo 64, you can plonk them at the Minecraft table for a bit and go and look around. The whole exhibit is in one room so you’ll never be too far away!

There are sections of the exhibit devoted to multiplayer games. Mashed, Super Smash Bros, Melee, Mario Kart, Halo and much more are all present. You can set up a game with some friends, or join someone else’s. The people there are very welcoming and friendly, and it’s a great place to make some new gaming buds!

If you’re more of a solitary gamer, then you’re covered as well. There are lots of platformers to play, new and old. Fancy a game of Super Mario 64? Perhaps for old times’ sake, or for the first time if you’re younger! Newer games like Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Mario 3D World are present as well and of course, it’s not just the Italian plumber representing, as there’s loads of Sonic and Lara Croft to keep any gamer busy. 

Not only this, but you also get the opportunity to try out Elite: Dangerous on the incredible Oculus Rift. We’ve already stressed that The Oculus Rift is an amazing piece of kit, especially when paired with Elite: Dangerous, but no amount of words can compare to actually trying it. There’s no feeling quite like putting on a pair of goggles and suddenly flipping around in outer space, smashing into asteroids. We reckon this’ll be quite popular at the event, so be prepared for a bit of queueing. And don’t think this exhibit is just for kids! There’s plenty to tide over the adults there, whether they’ve come with children or not, and there’s even a couple of “no kids allowed” evenings!

If you find yourself with a spare day this summer, and you’re within easy distance of Manchester, go and check out Play it! Manchester. There’s something on offer for everyone, whether you like smashing into every wall during Mario Kart (or maybe that’s just this reviewer), getting immersed in an Oculus Rift, or beating your old or new friends at Halo, Play It! Manchester is basically gaming heaven.

And to think you were going to go camping…

For more information, head over to the MOSI website.
Photographs by Martin Unsworth.

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