Posted: May 27, 2007

Keith Feinstein's Videotopia Traveling Exhibit

Videotopia A Blast from the Past

VIDEOTOPIA explores humanity's first giant leap into interactive electronic media The videogame.
Videotopia captures the essense of arcades of the 80's It was Keith Feinstein's dream to save the and preserve the classic games of the 1980's arcade era and what better way to do it than to start a traveling exhibit with all of the classic video games starting from 1979 on for a tour across the world with exhibit write-ups of how they were created and why they were important in our being introduced to the computer in a very personal and fun way to get to where we are today. Chicago Museum The exhibit starts out with some of the very first games like the coin-operated SpaceWar (1962) and Computer Space (1971) to those of the home system console Odyssey system and then it works it's way up todays current new technology but now without showing the glory of the 1980's arcade live and in action for players to relive those arcade days when there was an arcade of standup games on every block in every town across America and beyond. That was the glory of the 1980's. The Exhibit Welcome to Videotopia You are entering the fascinating world of video games. Learn about the history and inner workings of these incredible games, and why they are much more than simple entertainment. Videotopia What players miss today is the hand-drawn cabinet art, and the unique controller configurations as well as the arcade feel of many players in the same room trying to beat your recent high score. Night at the Museum Night of the Museum - With the Classic Video Games Just like the movie where Ben Stiller got to roam the halls and let his imagination run wild, you to can move through the T-Rex isles late at night, playing the classics, pacman, centipede and crazy climber among many others with the echo's of the arcade era bouncing on off of the walls and through the corridors of some of the greatest museums in history -- This is Videotopia, the traveling exhibition which is making it's way through a museum near you. Videotopia Museum Interactive Video Game Exhibit Keith Feinstein's longtime partner Jeff Anderson, now maintains the exhibit's vast game collection, based in New Jersey. Videotopia has been featured at numerous science museums in the U.S. and is now traveling throughout the world in new venues. Videotopia has a very accurate exploration of the art, science, and history of video games in the world, with over 75 coin-operated video games for the playing pleasure of the general public. The exhibit has become a resource for historians, educators, and television and other journalist internationally. It has become the principle resource for the appreciation and understanding of art and science coming together in the creation of the video game. From the first ever game and console, to the first to utilize microprocessors, ROM chips, 3-D graphics, etc., with all of the classics you haven't seen for decades, its all here. There are informational kiosks and displays explaining every step of computing and what it takes to get the end result of a video game. The nostalgia and education for the whole family are the reasons to visit. Chicago Museum at the Night - And Sue Some great displays for educating the general public were the displays on how trackballs and joysticks work and the history of home systems: The Odyssey, Vectrex, Atari 2600, Jaguar and Playstation.. louvre Museum at Night The Atari Vector Games were on hand such as Asteroids, Tempest, Black Widow, Quantum, Star Wars, and Empire Strikes as well as the old standards like Missile Command cockpit, Gauntlet with four players, Gyruss and Donkey Kong as well as Dragon's Lair and MACH 3. There were many other Laserdisc games and the common classics that even the non-gamer has seen many times before. Only Funspot in New Hamphire has as many perfectly restored games as this traveling exhibition. Museum at Night - Vienna Natural History Videotopia, the traveling videogame Museum Videotopia opened in 1996 in Pittsburgh and the exhibits are shown usually for a three month period at which time they are wrapped up and sent to the next exhibition hall for another showing around the globe. We are coming into an era when nostalgia is big business, home video-game makers such as Hasbro and Activision are scrambling to release versions of all the classics. Frogger and Battlezone are already available. Who doesn't want to forget all of their problems for just a quarter? That's how it was in the good ole' days. Keith Feinstein, Videotopia's creator found there was almost nothing written, no research, and what little you did find was just plain wrong. So he started to document from the beginning of the video game age to the crash of the video game arcade for both the home console and coin-operated arcade. Games are what drove technology and the computer market and they deserve their just do as the interface that got everyone into using home computers and eventually to the internet. It all had a biginning which deserves looking into and documenting. It has also been a part of our pop culture, in which phrases were engrained and games were easy to play yet hard to master. The cultural signposts are all there. When we were going through the 1980's the games refect what we were thinking like in the Missile Command game which teaches to save our last city in case of a nuclear war, just like President Ronald Reagan wanted from us. The music is there as well as the simpler times when you didn't need twelve buttons and a huge manual to play a game of pacman or tempest. Videotopia transports you back in time to the lazy days of spending hours at the mall, your favorite Asteroids or Space Invaders game with your friends, trying to find the new trick to get the new world and save humanoids from mass destruction. These 1980's games are easy enough for young and old alike to play against each other even if they have had no prior experience with video games. This video-game mecca road show has a wide offering everything from classes on game design, military simulators and the hottest video games. However, Halo 2 was not to be found as this current day shooter is much to violent for the family oriented outing and to knew to be considered a classic. Revealing artifacts can be found in this multimedia time machine, Videotopia is the place to be for those who forgot or even remember how cool it was to be in an arcade when arcades were king! Videotopia Hosting Institutions Pittsburgh, PA - The Carnegie Science Center (premier/test run) - 6/15/96 - 9/15/96 Philadelphia, PA - The Franklin Institute Science Museum - 6/20/97 - 9/1/97 Washington, DC - The National Press Building - 1/31/98 - 4/30/98 Tampa, FL - Museum of Science and Industry - 6/6/98 - 9/7/98 Dallas, TX - The Science Place - 9/25/98 - 1/5/99 Baltimore, MD - Maryland Science Center - 5/29/99 - 9/6/99 San Antonio, TX - Institute of Texan Cultures - 8/12/03 - 11/02/03 Singapore - Singapore Science Centre - 10/21/04 - 2/14/05 Video Game to simulate the real thing The new fiber glass game of 1971 reminded many of the Nasa materials used for the space missions. The NASA aesthetic was the rage of the 1970's. Computer Space Video Game (1971) Computer Space The Computer Space Coin Operated Video Game was released in November, 1971 by Nutting Associates. Created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, they were both later founders of Atari. It is considered the world's first commercially sold coin-operated video game. This type game has a single player control using a rocket ship which faces off against two flying saucers or, in the two-player version, players battle each other. The gameplay of Computer Space can be found here. Link It has a very space age rounded off cabinet and came in many diffent matallic colors. It was not a commercial success. There were 1500 Computer Space video games cabinets released and the cabinet can be seen in the 1975 movie, "Jaws", during the arcade/beach scene. Nolan Bushnell released the better known PONG arcade game the following year which was a great hit. 1971 Computer Space References and videos Link PhillyClassic video of the 1971 Computer Space Game. Link Videotopia - A Mission VIDEOTOPIA explores humanity's first giant leap into interactive electronic media, the videogame. Understanding this often overlooked technology is necessary if we are to make informed choices about the evolving uses of computers and videogames today, and as they develop with the technology of the future. VIDEOTOPIA explores such areas of relevant cultural influence, in addition to the science and applied technology behind the games. Videogames are largely responsible for the widespread acceptance of computers by the public. The exhibits and displays in VIDEOTOPIA communicate the impact these games and their technology have had on our culture. A walk through VIDEOTOPIA engages each visitor in the worlds that support the worlds of virtual reality, videogames, artificial intelligence, and computers. Three areas of exhibits explore the artistry, technology, and human experience of interactivity. The ease with which these games illustrate the importance of varied technologies is astounding. Each example of videogame technology and design expression in VIDEOTOPIA is accompanied by an intensively researched "Info-pedestal" which not only explains what each advance in technology and design actually "does" for the game and therefore the user, but also places the machine in its own historical and sociological perspective. The Dallas Morning News You are what you play 09/29/98 Old video games often reflected society's mind-set exhibit shows By Tom Maurstad / The Dallas Morning News Like a song that once blasted from the car radio on those long-gone Friday nights, like a forgotten television commercial you haven't seen in years, they are powerful portals to the past. Long before Nintendo, Sega and others turned TVs into electronic playgrounds, arcades were where gamers sought their thrills. And the video games that filled those arcades are the latest hot zone in our culture's continuing nostalgia craze. For baby boomers, trudging through middle age, names such as Asteroids, Defender and Space Invaders are passwords to adolescent days spent feeding quarters into a machine while trying to clear a room of marauding robots. There is, of course, the visceral rush of rediscovering what are now referred to as "classic" video games, all those familiar screens and graphics that by today's high-tech standards seem sticks-and-stones primitive. Not surprisingly, in an era when nostalgia is big business, home video-game makers such as Hasbro and Activision are scrambling to release versions of all the classics. Frogger and Battlezone are already available, and Centipede is due sometime this fall. On the Internet, meanwhile, Web sits such as are brimming with bootleg knockoffs. But as it turns out, classic video games offer more than just kitchy kicks. As an exhibit just opened at The Science Place demonstrates, video games - those silly symbols of misspent youth - are important and revealing artifacts. Walking through "Videotopia: The Ultimate Arcade," the time-worn cabinets burbling their choruses of bleeps and bloops offer resonant reminders of where we've been and how we got here. "I started this project in 1992 in large part because I was troubled by how poorly videogame history was being represented," says Keith Feinstein, Videotopia's creator. "There was almost nothing written, no research, and what little you did find was just plain wrong. "Me fear was the wrong history would become ingrained, which would be a massive disservice to society. Video games are the reason we're living in the world of computers And the Internet. Nobody was buying home computers do to spreadsheets. Games are what drove technology and the computer market. "Playing video games is how computers got disseminated into popular culture." With its That Was Then/Then Is Now format, Videotopia presents a compelling illustration of computer technology's evolution as games advanced from the boxy basics Of the first generation to supersleek wonders of today's offspring. For anyone who has waded through the volumes of rules, instructions and scene-setting explanations accompanying most video games these days, the universes of change we have blurred through are summed up by reading the instructions to Pong. Released in 1972, the electronic tennis game is mistakenly considered by many to be the first video arcade game. (Computer Space came out a year earlier, but it was difficult to Play and not much fun, so few played it and fewer remember it). But Pong was the first successful video game, and the cultural sensation it ignited began with precisely two lines and eight words of instruction: "Deposit quarter. Avoid missing ball for high score." As Videotopia's collection goes on, black-and-white bursting into color, crude outlines becoming ever more complex characters and a flat two-dimensional world adding an eye-tricking third dimension, an archaeological time line tracing the computer's development is created. You may have to be a tech head to understand the function of such things as Microprocessors and ROMs, but you don't have to be one to appreciate the differences they make. In one of the exhibit's most striking displays, the 1974 game Tank stands beside its 1995 counterpart, Tokyo Wars. Tank has a flat, monochromatic field where a tiny white tank battles a tiny black tank amid a field of featureless obstructions. Tokyo Wars, on the other hand, is a full-cover spectacle where realistically detailed tanks rumble through a 3-D re-creation of Tokyo. On the surface, the former is a rinky-dink skateboard. The latter a Supercharged rocket sled. But beneath the surface, the games are identical in game play and goal - maneuvering a tank through a maze, trying to blow up the enemy tanks while avoiding a similar fate. The real revelation of Videotopia's collection of classic games has nothing to do with computers. Video games, it turns out, aren't just technological artifacts; they are cultural signposts, remaining as electronic embodiments of long-gone moments. Take, for example, Missile Command. The player tries furiously to protect three cities While missiles rain down from satellites and planes. There is no winning, and the best you can hope for is the highest score. The games always end the same way: your cities wiped out, a screen-filling explosion and the bleak summation, "Game Over." It is, in other words, perhaps the purest distillation ever of nuclear paranoia. "When that game came out in 1980, "Mr. Feinstein says, "Reagan was president and the nuclear clock was at two minutes till midnight. As a sign in the exhibit explains, it was inspired when Atari's president read an article about killer satellites. It's original name was Armageddon, and the three cities were three American cities. But they decided that was just too horrifying. "But it's still the perfect representation of that Cold War mind-set we all lived under: It was all defense, no offense, and you couldn't win." Again and again throughout the exhibit, the cultural resonance of video games is highlighted, as it is in the case of Centipede. A placard explains that Centipede - in which the player shoots at a field including a descending centipede, a herky-jerky spider and a bunch of mushrooms - was the first arcade game to appeal more to women than men. Not coincidentally, it was also the first arcade game created by a woman designer. To further embellish the game's cultural context, the exhibit notes that 1981, the year of Centipede's debut, was also the year that Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court. "People think about video games the way they used to think - and the way some still do think - about television," says Tim Burke, a history professor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. "They think of them as empty, juvenile, valueless and mind-draining. But there is an incredible richness there for anyone interested in what society is thinking and feeling. "In the same way cultural critics have examined all those trashy monster movies from the '50s to get at what was going at the time, you can look at video games from the '70s and '80s. The fact is, you can tell a lot more about what people were thinking by looking at the cultural detritus of a period. "So many were about fighting aliens, trying to find a safe place or protecting your home - these were the resonant themes of the times. And in video games, you see the roots of geek culture, the community that would go on to create the Internet. That's Bill Gates' secret life you see in all those supposedly stupid games." Like a multimedia time machine, Videotopia offers the chance to retreat into a lost world. You can be whisked back to the cartoon chaos of Xenophobe, where your mission is "to seek out and destroy all hostile alien life forms." Or you can become a Defender, flying through enemy fire to rescue "Daddy," "Mommy" and "Mikey" from the clutches of - you guessed it - evil aliens. But the history of video games isn't all doomsday and accursed aliens. Players are freee to choose in this universe of electronic worlds. All it takes is a token, and you can once again be a cute little frog hopping his way back home, treating yourself to a tasty, 200-point bug along the way. 1998 The Dallas Morning News "The best time to be in the museum is after they close!"
Thank you, Paul Dean, Spy Hunter Champion, June 28, 1985

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free web counter Mario "Reagan Years" the 1980's Classics Arcade in Fullerton, CA Has now Re-Opened and has a whole new facelift! (June 16, 2006) Reagan Years This classic era arcade, "Reagan Years" is combined in a way with the ultra hip, "The Sidebar Rock and Roll Cafe" is connected to Reagan Years and is co-owned by the famous rock band guitarist from "Lit", Jeremy Popoff and businessman, Sean Francis. Link The Reagan Years is mostly a New Games Arcade with six classics in the back. Jeremy, co-owner of the Slidebar/Reagan Years, has been slimming down the number of classic games by at least 50% because the profits were not there, and there are now newer games in the place of most of the classics. The current games at Slidebar are as follows: 720 degrees, Asteroids, Defender, Frogger, Gauntlet, Ms Pac-man/Galaga: Class of '81, Rampage, Track & Field, Tron, and Centipede (which was not functioning), 2 felty pool tables, 1 air hockey, and the biggest big buck hunter. Thank you! Paul Dean, Spy Hunter Champion, June 28, 1985 The Fender Museum On July 13th, 2002 the Fender Museum of Music and the Arts carved a place for itself in music history with the official opening of its brand new 33,000 square foot building in Corona, CA Link Fender The Fender Museum 365 North Main Street Corona, CA 92880 951.735.2440