Friday, 7 February 2014

GYL Visits the Centre for Computing History

Here at GamesYouLoved we can’t get enough of all things retro...Games, toys, gadgets – we love nothing more than revisiting the past and firing up those memories that we had all but forgotten! 

Needless to say, when we were invited up to Cambridge to visit the Centre for Computing History we could not believe our luck! So, on a glorious Saturday morning the GamesYouLoved team hopped into our Deloreon (we wish!) and took a journey back to the future...

The Centre for Computing History is a computer museum that ‘tells the story of the Information Age’. It explores the historical, social and cultural impacts of personal computing by looking at the hardware and software that has made an imprint on our lives. Registered as a charity, it is backed by Google, Microsoft and the Open University (amongst others), and hopes to educate a new generation who know very little about the history of computing.

The first thing you will notice walking into the museum is a wealth of computer hardware spanning all the way back to 1958. From Commodore to Sinclair -  Apple to Amstrad, there is an astonishing collection of computer hardware to play with and explore, some of which you will recognise, some you will not. What was most striking about having different generations of computers in one place is how they have evolved over time. Physical design, software and function have all been transformed by technological capability and consumer demand, and it leaves one wondering where computers will go next...

In this modern age of laptops, phones and tablets it’s easy to forget that in the past computers were uncommon for consumers. The first personal computers were unwieldy and lacking in function, and it’s fair to say that these early machines were received with scepticism by the public (not least due to their excessive price!). Many would argue that it wasn’t until the dawn of the games console that computers truly excited consumers – they opened up new realms of interactivity and were a platform for creativity and storytelling. 

The museum pays full attention to this viewpoint by including an impressive collection of games consoles for visitors to play. With a roster that spans all the way from Pong to the PS2, you are able to see how consoles and games have evolved.  One minute we were thrashing it out on Tekken 1, the next we were putting our reflexes to the test with Sonic. There are also 3 arcade cabs to check out, which perfectly demonstrate the sheer variety of computing hardware.

The museum often plays host to events, and we were lucky enough to attend during a Super Smash Bros tournament (check out our review of Super Smash Bros 64  

As the first event of its kind at the venue, there was a little uncertainty about what the turnout would be, but these concerns were swiftly put to bed as over 60 of the country’s best Smash players filtered in, carrying with them N64s, Gamecubes and Wiis on which to do battle.

Overall we were incredibly impressed with the museum. With its astonishing collection of computer and gaming hardware there is so much to see and do. For adults and children alike, there is so much to discover at the Centre for Computing History. 

Visit their website to check out more -

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