Video games don’t age gracefully. Once the current generation of hardware is rendered obsolete there is only so much room beneath the TV – so the old console is left gathering dust.
Luckily, the Glasgow Science Centre has room for a few more screens and a few more consoles, 150 in fact, for the GamesMania festival that runs until July 16.
As well as the latest machines and games – from last year’s Crash N.Sane Trilogy remake and Street Fighter V to racing simulator Gran Turismo playable on a PS VR headset – the event takes a look back at four decades of gaming.
And that gives gamers a chance to play some of the classics and lesser-known lights of the past, crucially, as they were meant to be played.
The current gaming landscape is littered with remakes and re-releases that spruce up games of the past using emulators to add a lick of paint and make it playable without digging your old console out of the loft.
But often there is something lost in translation, the nostalgia for a bit of screen flicker or the feel of an old controller.
GamesMania harks back to the golden days of arcades with 16 cabinets as well as a host of bartop machines with Asteroids and Space Invaders all present and correct.
The collection is brought up north in conjunction with Bury’s Arcade Club – Europe’s biggest free play video game and pinball arcade– and will allow you to live out your Star Wars trench run fantasies in wire-frame vector graphic and mores.
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GamesMania’s Dave Moore said: “We have got the original versions of games you can play on their original systems. There are not many places where you can do that and we are trying to bring that experience of what we do in Bury to Glasgow. These aren’t a touring lot, we said to Glasgow Science Centre, “Do you want to do it?” and they said yes. The Arcade Club is heaving on a Saturday night – it’s one in one out – so it is far from the death of the arcade and we wanted to bring that to Glasgow.”
Classic consoles and games that never even made it to these shores are also on offer – Sonic is faster than you remember him with a US version of the original game on the Sega Genesis on the show floor running at a resolution of 60 frames per second on full screen.
Or PlayStation 2 rhythm curio Taiko Drum Master, which tasks gamers to keep up a drum beat, never made it across the Atlantic and while the early Nineties PC Engine console only came across in limited numbers – both are playable.
With Fortnite ripping up the online gaming landscape, GamesMania also transports gamers back to the dark days before dial-up when you had to virtually shoot your mates on a tiny portion of a screen while actually being in the same room.
All the LAN classics are there to see if the muscle memory is still alive and kicking– Quake, Goldeneye, Timesplitters – while there is a 12-player set-up on Halo 3 if you like your multiplayer with a touch of chaos.
“What we are finding with online games is servers are being switched off,” Moore added. “The older Halo games, for example, have been switched off and the only way to play them multiplayer is to play LAN with players in the same room. Servers are very expensive to run but people still want to play the game. And LAN multiplayer modes are something that are not included in games as much these days. People can come to GamesMania and experience LAN gaming.”
As well as the hundreds of games to play, there’s also a chance to dabble in making them with BASIC programming or learn about the machines and the people behind them with history sessions.