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Learn the history of computer gaming this half-term

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What was the first video game? What’s Mario’s real name? Would Fortnite exist without Pong? These are all questions local technology centre Retro Collective want to teach your kids this half term at their interactive museums and exhibition spaces in Chalford.

Hosted by museum curators and YouTube hosts Neil Thomas and Alex Crowley, the event promises to be a fun and entertaining educational day out for families, promising something new to learn whether you’re seven or 70.

Together, the museums have accrued a large collection of original, vintage computers, consoles, arcades and gaming history spanning over four decades, providing the perfect resource with which to tell the story of gaming.

Neil from The Cave said: “Not only do we have the first home video game console ever released from 1972, we also have the first commercially successful arcade game from Atari. We can tell the story of gaming from the very beginning, covering the British home micro boom of the ‘80s, the rise of the Playstation, the fall of Sega’s consoles and the foundations of the games you play today. But don’t worry, this isn’t school, and you can also have a great time playing them when you visit!”

DSC1875 | Learn the history of computer gaming this half-term
Alex Crowley in the Arcade Archive in Chalford.

In the Arcade Archive, there are more than 40 cabinets from the Golden Age of arcade gaming, including Space Invaders and Tempest, OutRun and Ghosts ‘n Goblins, and the game Mario first appeared in. Alex said: “These are gaming artefacts, real pieces of history, and we want them to be enjoyed so that new generations can say they’ve played them too and understand their importance. Without Frogger, there would be no Crossy Road.”

The Retro Collective spans two floors of Belvedere Mill, a beautiful 18th-century Grade II-listed building in Chalford, and shares its home with Heber, a leading designer and manufacturer of electronics. Last year, Alex and Neil joined forces with Richard Horne, the commercial director at Heber, to form the Retro Collective, with a combined passion for preserving and sharing electronics, gaming and entertainment history with a hands-on approach and a goal to unite vintage technology enthusiasts.

If you’d like to take your children to this event, then tickets are now available. Children will need to be supervised by an adult. https://www.retrocollective.co.uk/view-event.php?id=144

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