Moose doesn't really seem to care about having big plans on his birthday, but in my family, a birthday is always a thing to be celebrated! It's a chance to lap it up, be spoilt rotten and generally have a good time! All for just being born! What's not to love? So while he was ready to simply meet up with friends and have a few drinks, I decided to book a little surprise. I was fortunate to find out about an exhibition called Digital Revolution over at the Barbican in London. I didn't really know what to expect, some reviews said it was a little gimmicky but everything I read sounded like the sort of dorky fun we'd enjoy, so I went ahead and booked us tickets, and I'm really glad I did!
The exhibition is sort of divided up into three different sections. The first was a really nice display of old vintage computers, consoles and gaming systems. What was extra nice was that it wasn't just all the standard retro stuff, it had things like an original version of Conway's Game of Life, JODI and Manic Miner, as well as random extras like working Speak & Spell machines! The first room was packed with consoles and computers including the original Tomb Raider, Pong and Pac Man. There were also a bunch of very small games I'd never heard of, but no doubt had been instrumental to game development back in the 1970s and 1980s. Kind of wishing I bought a manual, now!
The exhibition went on to show various ways in which we use computers and technology in media with behind the scenes looks at How To Train Your Dragon, Gravity and Inception. It also had a pretty nifty area dedicated to Minecraft, complete with interviews by Notch and Yogscast!
As we went on, things got a little strange!
These birds were a strange exhibit where you could ring a number specific to each bird, and it'd call them up! And they'd dial up, clock in and respond to you! The whole bird was made out of mobile phones, right down to their wing "feathers". It was really neat!
There was an emphasis on digital art and representation, which included some nifty camera action and special effects....
My favourite part of the visual section was a part where they had three screens behind a small body of water. Each screen had your shadow projected onto it, and the shadow changed depending on what you did and how you interacted with it. In the first scene, if you lifted your hands to the sky, the shadow would create birds that would fly down and land on your hands, and eventually you would fade away as they sort of pecked away at you. The second scene was similar only this time, the birds landed on you. The third screen was the best, though!
The shadow literally gave you wings! I gotta admit, I actually got a little emotional here! You didn't just lift your arms in the air - if you just raised your arms, you'd be left hanging awkwardly. Instead, you had to sort of throw them upwards which, accompanied by a huge woosh-ing sound, erupted these gorgeous feathery wings from your arms. And they moved pretty realistically too, folding the way they would fold if they were real. I left the exhibit with the desperate need to create a winged humanoid character because, man, I got all emotional and silly! I want feathery wings, dangit!
There was a mini section devoted entirely to indie games, where we got to sit around playing various titles like Thomas Was Alone, Fez, There Shall Be Lancing and Cave Story, among many others! Actually made me really excited for Eurogamer next month! There was also a smaller section downstairs where the whole room was dark and lit by lasers which reacted to your motion and "touch", so you could form shapes with them or push them around to each other. Pretty neat, but not it didn't hold our attention very long sadly.
The whole exhibition was really fun, and a really good way to spend a couple of hours in London doing something different and nerdy. I think the show's still going on until September so you've a chance to pop down and see if you want!
We celebrated the rest of Moose's birthday by catching Guardians of the Galaxy (absolutely awesome) in Wimbledon's Imax, hanging out with friends in London, nomming at Bodean's (killer 'Real American' food) in Soho, and stalking the Inbetweeners 2 red carpet premier (though the girl in the front of the crowd didn't much appreciate my shouting "I CAN SEE THE ONE IN GLASSES!" - well excuuuuse me if I don't watch the show!)
I'm Selena, an artist, blogger and gamer - but maybe not always in that order! Dream Somehow is a blog dedicated to travel, geeky adventures, vintage style and a little bit of Disney Dreaming! If you'd like to learn a little more about me, click here.