This week we were invited along to the Science Museum’s new exhibition, Power UP, which runs from now until Sunday 7th August. Power UP features games, computers and consoles from the last 40 years. Everything on display is hands on and playable.
Power UP is a fun event for anyone with video game obsessed children, and it’s a chance to teach your children more about the development and history of video games.
I will say this now – if you are not a fan of computer games you will not like this exhibition! But if you are like our family, you will find that 90 minutes doesn’t feel long enough! The room contains banks and banks of computer consoles, with hundreds of different game to play. When we went there was no air conditioning and with all the computers the room was quite hot, so it’s worth dressing in light clothing and bringing water. There was also refreshments available from a small stand inside the exhibition.
We greatly enjoyed playing on all the games – they had everything from some of the old arcade games, Street Fighter, Pong, Pac man, lego games, all the way up to Minecraft and VR. There was also a large circle of consoles where you could all play Halo multiplayer; I had a few goes as I particularly like multiplayer games but I found I couldn’t last more than a minute! This is definitely not a place for the amateur to start honing their skills. I was better at trying the old text based games, and getting nostalgic about Sonic the Hedgehog.
It was a relief to me as I was there with 6 year olds that none of the games were violent. I spotted an old PC game called Quake that used to scare me a little when I was younger because it’s full of zombies, but in a large bright noisy room it didn’t seem that bad. There were no realistic violent games (and the exhibition concentrated on more colourful children’s games) so I let my children walk around and play what they liked – if this is an issue for you however, you might want to supervise your children more closely.
Although there was one wall with some information about the consoles, we actually found this not to be a particularly educational display which I felt was a bit of a missed opportunity. However, it does encourage children to roam around and explore, and they had a chance to experience some of the games we remember from when we were young.
It was also a surprisingly social event – it was very easy to end up in a conversation with people and I found myself chatting about my childhood experiences of games, especially the BBC B which I myself learned to program on from the age of 7.
If you have a child who is interested in gaming this is definitely a great place to bring your children if anything to get them out of the house! There’s a bank of machines purely for Minecraft, which is the place my children spent the most time. Plus all the lego games were a big hit, and as they were mostly for two players were a good way for the children to meet and make friends.
There was also an opportunity to try out some of the latest VR – I queued for a virtual rollercoaster ride using the Oculus Rift glasses, which was great fun.
Of course one of the great things about the exhibition is its location inside the Science museum. So after your gaming session you can take the opportunity to walk around other parts of the museum, which always has something new to look at.
Power UP runs Friday 22 July – Sunday 7 August
11:00-12:30, 12:45-14:15, 14:30-16:00, 16:15-17:45
Concessions (4-16 years): £6.50
3 and under: Free
Family of 3: £19
Family of 4: £23
Adult: £28, Concessions (under 16): £23.50
Tickets are available to book now via