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A few weeks ago, Sonny JJ asked if we could visit the National Videogame Museum in Frisco. Being a videogame aficionado and having heard from a couple of friends that it was worth a trip, he wanted to visit. Now, videogames are not quite down my alley but I was surprised that a national museum was close to us. And I had been ignorant of its existence until then.

This afternoon, I was able to get off work early. So Sonny JJ and I planned a quick visit as the museum is open until 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays (and until 5 pm the rest of the week). As luck would have it, Mr. JJ showed up just as we were leaving, so we decided to make it a family affair.

Located inside the Frisco Discovery Center off the Dallas North Tollway and Cotton Gin Road, the National Videogame Museum (NVM) is easily accessed from North Texas. There was little crowd as we walked in and bought tickets. At $12 apiece, I felt it a bit expensive, and no discounts were given for AAA members. The cost includes 4 tokens per person to be used in the game arcade. NVM offers guided tours every Sunday at 1 pm and 3 pm, included in the price of admission.

Then began all the action! What I really liked about the NVM is that its laid out in a chronological manner, starting with the emerging concept of videogames to their development, the consoles, the controllers, the third-party developers, handheld games, the introduction of licensing for games, the crash of 1983 and the subsequent resurrection of videogames and their devices.

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Mario and the Timeline of Consoles, National Videogame Museum

There is a section on board games that spun off of videogames. Another modeling a 1980s living room with the TV and videogame player, another of a mid-’80s kids bedroom with a personal videogame player. A whole arcade of videogames from the 1980s. A large wall murals with several videogame characters and one with the Duck Hunt game. And, of course, a large Pong to play with.

I overheard a millennial couple talking about how they played Frogger, PacMan and Zelda growing up! A mom sat in the bedroom area with her young son, shooting at ducks, playing Duck Hunt. She was teaching him the basics and reminiscing! From young kids to teenagers, from millennials to 40 year olds, the NVM has something for everyone.

Be it Pong or PacMan, Mattel football or Minecraft, from Atari to Nintendo to Xbox and Wii, the NVM has painstakingly put together a wonderful collection of all artifacts related to gaming. For many, it will be a walk down memory lane as they re-live their childhood. For others, if they take the time, it will be a history lesson on what has now become commonplace.

Sonny JJ had a wonderful time playing in the arcade and going through the console and controller sections. I learnt a good bit about the evolution of videogames. Missy JJ, who I thought would be completely bored by this museum, felt it was very engaging and hands-on. She liked the authentic 1980s set-up of the bedroom and living room models. And enjoyed playing on the Pong, the first videogame of sorts. Mr. JJ also enjoyed the arcade. He thought the museum was compact and easily visited in an hour or two. I think he would have liked more exhibits featuring current technology as well.

Here are a few photos from our visit this evening.

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PONG at the National Videogame Museum
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Controllers Galore! from the 80s and beyond!
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Earliest handhelds 
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Model of a typical videogame store at the time of the crash in 1983
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“Pixel Dreams”, 80s Arcade

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1980s living room with game console
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Board games spun off of Videogames
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Nintendo Game Boy
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Atari 800 computer from 1979

More information on the NVM can be obtained at their website. While this museum may not be for everyone, I think those that dare to venture through their doors will be educated and entertained.