We had a chance to check out the National Videogame Museum in Frisco, TX for a morning of fun last week, when they hosted us with complimentary tickets. NVM is located inside the Frisco Discovery Center. This was the perfect ‘staycation’ activity for our family. My husband has been playing video games since the dawn of Pong and an original Atari console. I wonder if The Old School Game Vault has any old Pong systems (that would make a fantastically nostalgic gift for my husband, but I digress). Even our daughter is jumping on the gaming bandwagon. She will be starting her senior year at University of Texas at Dallas in just a few weeks where she will graduate in May of 2018 with an Arts & Technology degree majoring in video game design.
The National Videogame Museum is a rather enjoyable crash-course in the history of video games. Adults born before or around the start of the industry in the 60s and early 70s, (like we were!) will certainly have a lot of nostalgia and fond memories concerning the old consoles and games on display in the early sections of the museum. Like the Giant Pong game!
You can play the classic game Pong on the world’s largest home Pong console on a giant 15-foot TV replica from the 1970s. The first video game both my husband and I played!
The Timeline of Consoles lets you learn the stories and see artifacts from more than 50 past and present videogame consoles on a physical timeline.
This ^^^ This was my childhood! Pac-Man on the Atari at the neighbor’s house. Pitfall on the Intellivision at our cousins’ place. And FINALLY for Christmas Morning 1982 my siblings and I got to play Donkey Kong when a ColecoVision console was our shared Christmas gift!
As for kids and young adults, like our daughter, who weren’t around for the beginnings of the video game industry, the museum is a great way to understand how it all got started. They can see all pitfalls and early limitations (in graphics and technology) that video games have gone through to get to where they are today. The museum does a great job showing off the evolution of all different facets of video games–from consoles, to controllers, to graphics, and even more besides.
There’s plenty of interactivity in educational displays as well as opportunities to play old games on the vintage consoles they were made for. The informational displays manage to be in-depth while simultaneously keeping words and concepts simple enough to be understood by young kids.
The Head-to- Head Hall is a hall full of gaming stations where you can go head-to- head with friends, family or competitors in tournaments. Guests may find a set of game systems and games they’ve never seen before or find a tribute to their favorite game franchise played on 10 different systems. The hall takes advantage of NVM’s 12,000+ library of games and will be an ever-changing area of fun.
Lastly, after all the displays have been seen and before you leave, the museum houses an arcade called Pixel Dreams where classics such as Q-bert, Centipede, and Joust (among many others) can be played with the 4 tokens that come with your admission.
Like most ‘attractions’ you pass through a gift shop on your way out 🙂 There are some fun items and gifts for purchase. We purchased these neat Legend of Zelda earrings for Amber from the shop.
The National Videogame Museum is the only museum in America dedicated to the history of the videogame industry. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that brings together the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) values within videogames. These values are presented both as an entertainment medium and a career path as a highly interactive, entertaining and educational experience. The NVM archive is unparalleled in size and comprised of dozens of one-of- a-kind artifacts, in addition to more than 100,000 pieces of rotating videogame hardware, software, documentation and memorabilia. The center is available for corporate events, birthday parties, field trips and research studies and is open to the public six days a week. For more information, visit www.nvmusa.org.
Amber definitely found NVM fun, educational, and a good resource in learning about the origins of such a widespread industry in our current popular culture. Maybe one day she’ll be part of the development and publishing of a smash videogame hit and be featured in the museum as well 😉
WHAT: The National Videogame Museum (NVM) in Frisco
Prices: $12 general admission, $10 for children 10 and under, as well as military, educators and seniors (Valid ID required upon purchase of military, educators and seniors tickets)
WHERE: Frisco Discovery Center, 8004 N. Dallas Pkwy, Frisco, Texas 75034 – Free parking
Hours: Monday (closed); Tuesday – Thursday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.); Friday – Saturday (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.); Sunday (noon – 5 p.m.)