Monday 1 June 2015

Game On 2.0 at Life Centre, Newcastle

It's no secret that my Simon is a bit of a gaming geek.  He loves nothing more than sitting on the sofa, wearing his big headphones and chatting to his friends whilst completing a mission on Grand Theft Auto.  I find his love for his hobby endearing however I do try and forget about the time he queued up outside Game for the launch of the new Xbox and then woke me up at 1:00 am asking me to take a picture of him with it.

Simon has often commented that he'd love it if I shared his passion however, last time he attempted to get me into gaming it ended in me throwing a big sulk and purposely making my Lego Harry Potter figure jump off the edge of the screen. 

I am never going to love gaming as much as Simon, however gaming was a pretty big part of my childhood and I bet that it's something all of us have had some kind of love for, even if we don't realise it.   

From your Speak and Spell in the 1980s to playing Angry Birds on your phone as an adult - video games are a pretty big part of all of our lives and it's amazing to see how much they've developed just in the short space of time that I've been alive.

You may not realise this but the games industry is big in the North East with many of the most famous games including Watch Dogs and Just Dance being developed right here in Newcastle.

Last week we were invited for a sneaky peak at Game On 2.0 which has arrived at the Life Centre in Newcastle.  Celebrating all things gaming, the new exhibition is a giant playground for kids and adults alike.  

Whether you're a dedicated Xbox fan or just love messing around on the game machines in arcades, Game On 2.0 has something for everyone.

When we first entered the exhibition we were a little overwhelmed.  Being the world's largest collection of playable computer games, there are more than 100 games set up in the room and it was tricky to know which way to run first.

I decided to start with what I know best and headed straight to find Mario.  Me and Mario go way back, we became pals during the 1990s when I became obsessed with my brand new Gameboy and used to bike to the next door village to play it with the boy that I fancied.  I had a nice collection of games but the Mario Land adventures were my favourite and even as an adult I've been known to get very animated during games of Mario Kart on the Nintendo  DS. 

Talking of Gameboy I managed to find one amongst the old consoles on display and it felt so wonderful to be reunited even though it did immediately make me feel old.  Just look how huge and clumpy it looks compared to modern handheld consoles.   I'm pretty sure whatever you used to play as a kid you will find it here!

One of my favourite parts of the exhibition was playing the old arcade games.   My buried enthusiasm for gaming always appears whenever I'm at the seafront and see an arcade full of bright lights - I'm an absolute sucker for the dance machines!

Mario's first home was actually in the Arcades with Donkey Kong being his first adventure.  I was pretty excited to learn that he was born in 1981, the same year as me.  Playing what appeared to be a very simple platform game I was shocked at how tough it was.

Being a child of the 1980s I remember computers being a big deal as I didn't often have access to them.  We had a BBC Micro Acorn at primary school that we took in turns to play.  With there only being one computer in the whole school and having to share it between so many kids, we got to play it once a year.  That afternoon was always the highlight of my year. 

I was so happy to see that there was an Acorn computer set up at Game On 2.0, I literally hadn't seen one since my school days.  I remember Granny's Garden being my big obsession, unfortunately that wasn't available to play but we were happy to have a go on Exile instead.

Some of my friends in school were very very lucky and had computers at home which is where I was first introduced to Sonic the Hedgehog.   If I ever went to one of their houses after school I would beg to be allowed a go on the Sega Megadrive. 

At Game On 2.0 I was also reunited with The Sims, a game I played for hours and hours on my PC in the early noughties.  I would sit up until the early morning, building houses for my characters and using cheats to purchase excessive amount of furniture.

Whilst I was skipping about down memory lane Simon was enjoying himself lost in his beloved world of gaming.   He had a go on Unchartered, Halo and the original Lara Croft Tomb Raider and was happy to have some game time in an environment that I was enjoying as much as him.

Game On 2.0 is a great exhibition for the whole family.  You'll find it at the Life Centre until 1 November 2015, entry is included in your entrance ticket to Life.


  1. Sounds like you had a blast! We really enjoyed it and it's re ignited my passion for my DS which has been sat unloved for years!

  2. OMG I love this retro blast from the past, we had the acorn computer at school too! Would you believe I used to be a bit of a gaming geek myself and my parents used to take me to shows like this!
    Lots of love,

    SilverSpoon London

  3. Grannies Garden!!! I used to love that! This looks fab, my husband would be in his element!

  4. Such a good exhibition and there is definitely something for all ages. I loved the Sims too (although I used to cheat). Harry has it now for his computer too x

  5. Your bf must have been in seventh heaven! I worked for a computer games company at one point in France so I got quite into it at the time, can be quite addictive when you are playing with others

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

  6. My other half is a total gaming geek and would have loved this. I really like the retro games brings back happy memories Lucy x

  7. I think Chris would love this! Thanks for sharing!! X

  8. My son would love this - I would not! haha

  9. Haha, loved this, great write up and totally relatable!
    I begged santa for a gameboy year after year.. but he bough me a computer instead. :( what was I meant to do with that!?! It was massive and very heavy, but I soon became obsessed with playing 'Doom' on it. :p
    I think we're planning a family day visit to go to this, out toddler wont appreciae it yet, but it'll be a good day out for us. :p


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