• Videotopia is a traveling national museum exhibit chronicling the history of mankind's first interactive media -- videogames. AGH recently took a trip down to the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, PA (where it will stay until September 1, 1997). Keith Feinstein, President of Videotopia, and Dave Hallock were generous hosts while we were there, giving us a guided tour of the exhibit as well as challenging us at some of the games there.

  • The museum exhibit primarily focuses on coin-operated videogames, although a very nice section is devoted to some of the notable home consoles, handhelds and memorabilia as well. Since most of the current arcade games can be found at finer arcades everywhere, the older generation of games take up the lion's share of the floor space.

  • Keith and his associates have an excellent lineup of games at hand, with a fine balance between the historic (Pong, Pac-Man, Asteroids, Tempest, Space Invaders, Computer Space, Dragon's Lair, Robotron: 2084, Defender), exceptionally rare ones that you may have never seen (Warrior, Death Race, Super Don Quixote, Joust 2: Survival of the Fittest, Quantum, Shark Jaws), and underrated games that somehow never caught on during its time (I,Robot, Major Havoc, Mad Planets, Solar Quest, Q*Bert's Qubes, Blaster). Some of the contemporary games on display include S.T.U.N. Runner, Tokyo Wars, Daytona USA and Sega's Model 3-based racer, Super GT.

  • The exhibit is not merely an awesome collection of games. Videotopia is wonderfully designed, with varios kiosks, stations and explanations scattered about the exhibit. For example, one area shows the process of videogame design from beginning to end and demonstrates how the vision of the creator is influenced by the medium of technology and the perceived desires of the end user. Level one also includes a "Career Paths and Educational Opportunities" station to familiarize everyone with some of the diverse areas of endeavor that relate to videogames. If you are interested in getting involved with videogames, this area will truly be of interest. Going through and studying all the areas can serve another purpose besides your personal enrichment: Upon finishing the stations, you are invited to play a quiz game where you can earn free game tokens for successfully completing the quiz.

  • One of the highlights of the exhibit was the vast repetoire of vector-based coin-op games. With its bright display, crisp graphics and smooth scaling, it's no wonder why vector games remain a favorite for many classic game aficionados. One play of Star Wars, Red Baron or Tempest will have you fondly reminiscing of the time when you were blown away at the brilliant effects that were only possible with vector graphics. And for Atari fans, you're in for a treat.... Videotopia has a COMPLETE Atari vector game collection on display, including such rarities as Quantum, Black Widow and Gravitar.

  • We were very fortunate to be at Videotopia the day that Eugene Jarvis decided to drop by as well! For those unaware of Mr. Jarvis's achievements, he is the creator of such megahits as Robotron: 2084, Defender, Blaster, Stargate, Smash TV, High Impact and Cruisin' USA, and is unquestionably one of the most influential game designers in history. Since we already had the pleasure of meeting him before at E3 and CES shows, we knew what a cool guy he was. But to actually shoot the breeze with him while taking him on in Defender, Q*Bert and others was an awesome experience that we will not soon forget!

  • All in all, Videotopia is the ultimate trip down memory lane for anyone who ever lived through the videogame craze during the dawn of the videogame era. There's nothing quite like clutching both joysticks while trying to climb the building in Crazy Climber while you hear the words "go for it!" screaming at your ear from the cabinet speakers as you feverishly try to avoid falling pots and bird turd. :)

    For more information regarding Videotopia along with their tour schedule, please pay a visit to

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