Once upon a time, bouncing an electronic ball back and forth on a T.V. screen was all the rage. Now kids are enthralled with the world of Minecraft, and adults are hopping online to play their friends in Call of Duty. There’s no doubt about it — videogames have come a long way since Pong.
The National Video Game Museum in Frisco is the only museum in America whose purpose is to preserve and share the history of the videogame industry, from Pong to today. This museum may fly under the radar for some, but it’s a great stop to visit on your next trip—especially if you’re into gaming. The NVM features over 100,000 videogame consoles, games, artifacts and more than 25 years of videogame history.
Recently, I surprised my boyfriend with a trip to this one-of-a-kind museum. Although I’m a total newbie when it comes to gaming, I knew that my gamer guy would appreciate seeing old consoles and learning more about the industry. What I didn’t know was how much fun I would have exploring the museum!
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE NATIONAL VIDEOGAME MUSUEM
First off, tickets were a great price. For $12, we had full entry, complete with two tokens each to use in the 1980’s inspired ‘Pixel Dreams’ arcade. Walking into the museum, we were greeted by a giant Pong console on our left, and the Timeline of Consoles on our right. Oh, and a statue of Mario from Super Smash Bros.—great for an Insta-worthy photo op.
From the get-go, this museum is interactive. Visitors can play the giant game of Pong, as well as most of the videogames that are on display. The coolest thing is that you get to play them on their original consoles. The Sony Dreamcast may be a thing of the past, but I definitely spent over fifteen minutes playing Typing of the Dead on a Dreamcast during our visit (and even made it in the Top 10!).
Each section is a different “level” of videogame history, featuring games like Duck Hunt, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Asteroids, and Oregon Trail —one of my childhood favorites. As we walked through the levels, we saw several rare artifacts, (including one of the two existing Atari Midilink controllers) played tons of old and new video games, and witnessed how the industry has developed over time.
NEXT STOP, @NERDVANA
After taking a trip down memory lane and watching my boyfriend explore like a kid in a candy store, we headed down the street for another surprise. Five minutes away from the museum is @Nerdvana Food+Spirits, a restaurant, bar and gaming hub.
At @Nerdvana, each booth features a screen, and each menu comes with a controller. That’s right, you get to game while you eat and drink. They even serve alcoholic beverages for the adults, and have happy hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Multiple players can join in at one booth (or the bar) and play XBOX, Playstation or Wii games together.
Fun fact: While at the restaurant, we learned that the office-space above @Nerdvana is home to the videogame developer who created Borderlands, Battleborn and Brothers In Arms. Yes, Gearbox Software is based in Frisco, and their employees often eat lunch downstairs at @Nerdvana Food+Spirits. Who knew!
Featured Image Courtesy: Mary M. Murphy