Video Games

Video Game History 101 at the Arizona Popular Culture Experience

The pixels, polygons, and sassy animal mascots of video games past will be on display in a new exhibit at The Arizona Popular Culture Experience.

Opening to the public on March 9, "The History of Video Game Consoles" is a nostalgic trip through the industry's landmark moments, standout characters, and notable franchises.

The exhibit features rare, vintage consoles and memorabilia, including the original Japanese Famicom (aka Nintendo Entertainment System), Rob the Robot, and the Nintendo Power Glove (still fresh from the awkward gawking of a young Fred Savage).

Both industry successes, like the Sega Genesis and original Nintendo Game Boy, and bankrupting failures, such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 and Nintendo's Virtual Boy, will be on display.

"Video games have been with us for a long time," says Stephen Martinez, Arizona Popular Culture Experience docent and tour guide. "Most statistics show that your average gamer is about 32 years old. It's something they've been doing for most of their lives, and there's a lot to them.

The exhibit is hidden within the museum's literal labyrinth of shelves and walls overflowing with action figures and toys from almost every corner of pop culture, including anime, comics, video games, television and even the history channel.

Even the Spice Girls make an (albeit creepy) appearance in toy form.

"The History of Video Game Consoles" exhibit runs from March 9 to April 22, open from Friday through Sunday.

Arizona Popular Culture Experience tours cost $5 for adults and $3 for children. Active military, police and fire fighters get in for free.

The Arizona Popular Culture Experience is at 21001 N. Tatum Blvd in Phoenix.

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David Sydiongco
Contact: David Sydiongco