When video games first started becoming popular, things were pretty rudimentary. Playing tennis involved two sticks moving on a vertical axis and batting a bouncing blob back and forth. And, as thrilling as Donkey Kong was when it appeared as an arcade game back in 1981, it now looks pretty rough.
Suffice to say, video games have come a long way, baby. These days, it's all state-of-the-art technology, cutting-edge graphics, killer soundtracks and complicated narrative. So, the fact that the Games Lab is a permanent game-playing hub slap bang in the centre of ACMI's Screen Worlds – the exhibit dedicated to the history and direction of moving images – is due recognition of their artistry.
The Games Lab is open daily and while some parts are obviously for kids (including Sesame Street's Once Upon a Monster Time), grown ups are totally welcome. You can turn your hand to the latest incarnation of Nintendo's Super Mario Bros – Mario Kart 8 – and to wonder at just how far things have come.
Games Lab Version 2.0 ACMI, Melbourne 3000. Daily 10am-5pm. Free.