They've been a powerful force in our culture, and an inspiration for technological advancement. Because of the key position they hold in society, they've been brought together in a traveling exhibit currently at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. Of course, they are video games.
It's not your typical museum exhibit.
It is however, the world's largest and most comprehensive video game exhibit, called Videotopia.
"My hope is that this enables people to understand that video games, apart from being a great form of entertainment, had a really unique role in the defining of our culture," said curator Keith Feinstein.
Feinstein thought his mission in life was to become a chiropractor. But then he had an inspiration to enlighten America about the power of the video game.
"Video games are like rock 'n' roll were to a different generation," said Feinstein.
Who knew that all those hours and all those quarters were a profound cultural experience? And those icons of culture are all in the exhibit.
The games in the exhibit range from the first games, Computer Space and Pong, to games designed by the founders of Apple Computer to games designed by and for women and the first sports games.
Of course there are the classics, and like many good exhibits it brings back memories of a long-gone era.
"I feel old. I can't believe I'm coming back to a museum to see things that I used to play with and I'm only 21," said one visitor to the exhibit.
It is a reflection of our past, and maybe for that reason it belongs in a museum. "It was a big part of me growing up and I know that a lot of kids now are going through the same sort of thing," said Feinstein.
And if he has his way, many more will be enlightened.
"Here you had an art form, a medium in which you could express yourself, really. These are wonderful amazing machines and there are stories behind every single one of them, and people have incredible memories," said Feinstein.
Videotopia will be on exhibit at the Maryland science center in Baltimore through September 6.
For more information on the exhibit, go to www.videotopia.com.
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