International video game exhibition returns to Edinburgh after 20 years

The largest interactive exhibition of the history and culture of video games is set to return to the Capital next summer.

Game On: Major video game exhibition to return to Edinburgh after 20 years at National Museum of Scotland Richard Kenworthy

An international gaming exhibition is to return to a major Edinburgh museum for the first time in over 20 years.

Game On will head to the National Museum of Scotland from June to October next year.

Featuring iconic characters and games from Space Invaders to Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario to Minecraft, the exhibition, conceived and curated by Barbican Immersive, will give visitors the chance to explore the rich history of gaming by playing many of the key games produced over the last 50 years.

It will be the first time the exhibition will be displayed in Edinburgh since it made its touring debut at the National Museum of Scotland in October 2002 after its initial opening run at the Barbican in London.

Since then, it’s been toured in 24 cities with over five million people visiting the highly interactive exhibition from across the world.

2016 Game On exhibition in Oslo.

Patrick Moran, Game On associate curator, said: “The gaming world has had an undeniable social, cultural, and technological impact. Games transcend the boundaries between art and technology, becoming part of popular culture.

“Game On presents the opportunity to not only see the evolution of video games and how they have diversified, but also lets to immerse yourself inside the gaming world allowing you to play with over 100 playable games.

“The show features the largest playable collection in the world, including original arcade, handle hand, and console games, including Pac-Man, Super Mario, Tetris, Minecraft, Just Dance and FIFA.

“The exhibition also explores new advances in the gaming world. Highly interactive, all action, groundbreaking and popular, Game On is engaging for hardcore gamers and visitors new to the gaming, the show is suitable for players of all ages.”

Game On exhibition in Brazil in 2017.

Dr Geoff Belknap, keeper of science and technology at National Museums Scotland said: “It’s great to welcome Game On back to the National Museum of Scotland.

“As someone in charge of science and technology collections, it’s exciting to see the rapid changes in gaming technologies over the last 20 years reflected in this exhibition through objects which I used to have in my own living room. 

“The exhibition has been continually updated at each new touring venue since the early 2000s, when the show was first in Edinburgh, and so we look forward to bringing the story of video gaming right up to date here in Scotland, where the industry today is so vibrant.” 

The exhibition runs from June 29 to November 3 2024 and will be organised by theme and explore different types of gaming, from handheld to home console to arcade machines across a range of genres.

Tickets go on sale in spring 2024.

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