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What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

Strong Musuem: World’s Largest Public Collection of Video Games


Happy Kid #1

Hey, who’s going into NYC this weekend to see the Macy’s fireworks show? It’s the world’s largest Independence Day fireworks display, with 40,000 fireworks synchronized to a 25-minute musical score! We’re gonna wait a few years before exposing The Girl to that kind of “revelry,” but if anyone goes, tell me about it!

But here’s a crowd-pleaser for all ages:

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

After we planned our May road trip to Rochester for the Lilac Festival, we read about the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG), which has one of the world’s largest collections of electronic games, as well as the world’s largest public collection of video games. The Boy couldn’t get there fast enough. Then again, neither could Matt. Meet the Go BIG version of the apple and tree.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

I wouldn’t make a six hour drive just for an exhibit of electronic games. The ICHEG, however, is part of The Strong, a non-profit institution dedicated to the study of play. Another part of the facility is the National Museum of Play, the world’s second largest children’s museum.

So, while The Boy (and his father) got all worked up and frothy in anticipation of seeing all those bits and bytes, I was reassured that The Girl would be happy with all the toys and games at the museum.

Okay, what was so cool about it?

The actual collection is expansive, and not all of it is on view. What you do see is the permanent exhibit, eGame Revolution, within the National Museum of Play. Our first stop was to pay homage to The Brown Box, the 1968 precursor to Pong invented by Ralph Baer. The Boy and I stepped up, manned our paddles, and…waited…for…the…ball…to cross the screen. Remember when Pong was new and unbelievable and everyone wanted it? Now I can only think about how much time we wasted waiting for the ball to cross that dang screen!


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