A giant Pong game is among the 150 video games in Game On 2.0 exhibit at Toronto's Ontario Science Centre

A giant Pong game is among the 150 video games in Game On 2.0 exhibit at Toronto’s Ontario Science Centre

A science museum exhibit with 150 playable video games? I’m in.

As soon as the kids and I got inside Toronto’s Ontario Science Centre, we bee-lined it straight for the “Game On 2.0” exhibit, which runs through Sept. 2.

The Ontario Science Centre in Toronto.

The Ontario Science Centre in Toronto.

The concept is to teach children the history of video games. But really, most people weren’t reading the descriptions on the walls. Everyone just bounced from video game to video game, frantically pushing buttons at each stop. While some games work well (I played some Asteroids, Donkey Kong, and NBA Jam, among others), there were some games that were locked up or worked too slowly to hold anyone’s attention span — especially when they had more than 100 other games around them. I was happy to see many parents playing games with their kids.

The exhibit starts with a display of wall-sized projection of the game of Pong, which immediately had me waxing nostalgic and the kids disgustedly saying, “You would play THAT?” Then the games moved chronologically to the present-day.

While the exhibit is a little better in concept than in execution, we had a blast there. I’d recommend it to anyone visiting Toronto over Labor Day weekend with their kids. Just be warned, a few games didn’t work at all (at least during our visit). And waiting 20 seconds for a game to reset, or a joystick not to respond quickly, was frustrating and a little disappointing for the kids. The exhibit does limit the number of people inside the exhibit (which is a good thing), so you might have to wait in line to get in. But it’s worth the wait.

An oldie but a goodie.

An oldie but a goodie.

The rest of the Ontario Science Centre is really fun, too. It was spread out over different floors, we found lots of hands-on science exhibits, and some live demonstrations. We even had the Canadian delicacy Poutine, french fries covered in oh-so-bad-but-oh-so-good gravy, in the museum cafeteria. For museum cafeteria fries, they were really good!

Yum!

Fries with gravy at the museum cafeteria – yum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Game On 2.0 exhibit is included in the price of admission, which is nice. But adhere this advice: buy your tickets in advance. We had to wait in a 40-minute line to buy tickets, which was almost unbearable. Once we got in, though, the kids and I had so much fun, we almost forgot how miserable the line was.

Plan on spending at least a half-day in this museum, and then do what we did – head back to your hotel (in our case, the awesome Ritz Carlton Toronto) for a relaxing swim in the pool.

With so much to see and do in family-friendly Toronto, we plan to return soon!

The Wii game of my generation.

The Wii game of my generation.

Remember this hand-held game?

Remember this hand-held game?