The summer of the pinball tilts out Monday


Game On 2.0 Game Outs end of Monday in Toronto

Game On 2.0 has been the most popular summer kids' exhibition to play in Toronto for years and years. Sadly the Ontario Science Centre's interactive exhibition flippers out end-of-day, Labour Day Monday.
"Outstanding, that is all I can say," exclaimed Anna Relyea, the Science Centre's director of public relations.  " Kids, and their parents took to this exhibition right from our opening press conference back in the spring."
This fingers-on show traces the 60-year evolution of the computer game beginning with the pinball machine, moving onto Pong and ending with a futuristic 3-D dome game called Virtusphere.  Virtusphere is played  from the inside of 10-foot hollow sphere -- the user runs freely inside while wearing a wireless, head-mounted display.
In all there are 150  games and all of them work.  Gamers can learn about the science that goes into making a computer game, or they can simply sit at a console and blast away at flying Asteroids,  hulking Street Fighters and even Laura Croft!
"Game On 2.0 is an exhibition organised and toured by the Barbican Centre which is owned and funded by the City of London Corporation," continued Anna Relyea. " The secret to the success of the show is in no small part to making sure that each game works!  With all of the machines being played on a continual basis, we have to work quickly to get a game back on line if it goes down. Barbican provided a game technician who has stayed here in Toronto since the show opened to keep things up and running!"
Life-sized model of Laura Croft in the show hall
Although the presentation is aimed at the younger segment of the population,  it does have its appeal to parents (and grandparents) bringing their children to Toronto's Science Centre.  One of the first games you see entering the exhibition hall is a pinball machine from 1961. Gottlieb’s “Egg Head” pinball machine has a simple concept,  one plays tic-tac-toe against a robot!  Tilt control a little too sensitive on Egghead for my liking but what a way to spend a summer afternoon!

BTW - Ontario Science Centre not the only ones to pay homage to the pinball machine this summer.  Stratford has revived the Who's Rock Opera Tommy which will continue to be performed at the Avon Theatre until the end of October.
My wife and I took the show in as an anniversary present to ourselves at a sold-out matinee performance in June.
Time  has not been kind to the fans of the 60s Who concept album. We were mildly shocked to find we were amongst the youngest in the theatre!  Extra uniformed  ushers were on hand to store walkers, canes and wheel chairs as theatre goers entered the hall.
Who knew that 80+ year olds knew the words and were happy to sing along  to "Tommy Can You Hear Me"? Mindful of the age of the audience, and to make sure that Tommy's older fans could hear the words Stratford players did played it really loud  (enough decibels to shake your dentures and make your hearing aides squeal in pain)!
According the to programme this musical is "based on The Who’s 1969 concept album Tommy, mostly composed by Pete Townshend, the groundbreaking stage musical was created by  Townshend and Stratford's Des McAnuff, who together wrote the libretto. Working largely out of La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, where McAnuff was then Artistic Director, the two transformed the album  into the most technically advanced musical Broadway had ever seen.
It’s been almost twenty years since Canadian fans have had a chance to see Tommy on stage. This latest revival got great reviews (only the Globe hated the show) and continues to sell out most performances!

The Virutsphere in the Ontario Science Centre

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