The video game industry began 35 years ago in the summer of 1972. Magnavox licenced the invention of German-born Ralph Baer and brought the first home game console into the shops: Odyssey. At about the same time, Nolan Bushnell set up Atari and put his first Pong machine in a bar, and it proved to be a gold mine.
Over the years, a medium worth billions grew out of the game arcades and living rooms. Whilst at first the latest hits were only available on slot machines, in the late seventies, home consoles with changeable game modules gained ground. The heyday of the home computer began at the start of the eighties with computers like the legendary Commodore 64. The PC came to dominate the game market only later. In the mid-nineties, the new age of video games began with Sony and its PlayStation.
Although today’s games are impressive with their lifelike landscapes, high-resolution 3D views and digital sound, the classics of back then are still around, with re-issues, game emulators and not least, for their fans. But who still remembers the gadgets of that era?
In the “GC Art” section at this year’s GC, a unique special exhibition reviews 35 years of telegames. A 200-square-metre area in Hall 5 is occupied by more than 200 consoles, handhelds, home computers, LCD games and educational computers. They have been brought together by the Leipzig journalist and author René Meyer who with the support of the Leipzig Fair, now shows the collection for the first time to a wider public.
Many of the exhibits conjure up memories. But as well as classics like the Atari 2600, the Amiga 500 or the Super Nintendo, there are also many rarities that have been forgotten today. Such as the Telefever from Tchibo or the tabletop games of the eighties with built-in screens. Some equipment never reached Europe, such as the Game Boy competitors Wonderswan and Neo Geo Pocket or the children’s game console Playdia from Bandai.
One part is dedicated to the computer history of the GDR. Items include the curious Z1013 computer kit, the popular KC series, the office computer PC 1715, the educational computer A5105 personally commissioned by Margot Honecker and the BBS 01, East Germany’s only game console.
Monitors, input devices, game modules, discs, handbooks, reference books and magazines complete the exhibition, among them much sought-after first editions of game magazines like Telematch, ASM, Happy Computer and PC Player.
Website for the exhibition: telespiele.info
GC (Games Convention) 2007
(23 – 26 August 2007)