Exploring the National Videogame Museum

Take a journey through the history of gaming

Exploring the National Videogame Museum
Photo by Nicole Fahey / Unsplash.

You can view all the wonders of gaming for only 12 dollars.

The first - and so far, the only video game museum is the United States in Frisco, Texas. Although it was not the first choice (the museum’s creators preferred Silicon Valley), Frisco’s vibrant and youthful culture made it a suitable home for the National Videogame Museum.

I moved away from Frisco in 2015, just before the museum’s 2016 opening. But after a friend prompted me to visit (from my new home in California), I added the museum to my itinerary.

Located in the Science Discovery Center, the National Videogame Museum is impressively large; I wondered how even a space this size could accommodate years of rich history from the video game industry. Creators John Hardie, Sean Kelly, and Joe Santulli split their 100,000 video game treasures into various components that trace video game history chronologically from its earliest days to the present. You’ll encounter notable themes - from the rise of Pong to the devastating video game crash of 1983.

Before the museum’s development, its trio of creators took their impressive video game collection on tour throughout the United States.

They had an excellent run showcasing their collection in the early 2000s. But, understanding that the trio was getting older, traveling from place to place was becoming tiresome. So it made sense to house the collection in a more permanent space fellow gamers could visit.

When you reach the museum and pay your 12-dollar entry fee, a massive 15-foot-tall Pong system welcomes you. The National Videogame Museum has the honor of possessing one of the most giant Pong machines in the world (which makes sense, as Pong has a special place in Sean Kelly’s heart).

Source: Author.

Although chronology plays a role, the trio organized the museum’s collection into various themes. So, for example, there’s a display that looks remarkably like a typical ’80s kids’ bedroom (complete with a light-blue color scheme, a Pac-Man bedspread, a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off poster, and a 19-inch Zenith TV playing Duck Hunt on the NES).

Another prominent display is the ’80s video game store display (complete with a ‘store closing’ banner, signaling the gaming industry crash of 1983).

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After walking through each themed area, you'll find a mini-arcade containing a wide range of cabinets, from Pac-Man to Punch-Out!! Before my friend and I left the museum, we played arcade games for a good hour or so. I can't recall exactly what games I played, but if they had any of the first three Mortal Kombat games (or any fighting game really), I must have played the machine until I became physically sore (or the person behind me became desperate enough to play). I do remember giving Punch-Out!! a shot, but I tapped out by only the second opponent (unfortunately this game isn't any easier, and I'll need to have a copy at home if I'm ever to master it).

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Walking out of the museum, you'll expand your video game knowledge (and perhaps walk away with a keepsake, which you can buy at the gift shop). In any case, I highly recommend stopping by the National Videogame Museum if you're ever in the Dallas, Texas area.


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