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Play hundreds of vintage video games in this special exhibit

Written by
Tolly Wright

Video game lovers young and old will enjoy the Museum of the Moving Image's special exhibit of mini games, "Multibowl." This interactive installation combines 30-second snippets (about one level) of over 300 two-player video games that were released between 1976 and 2000. The players are "dropped" into the round, with little introduction beyond the game's name, publisher and goal (like knock out the other player, win a race, collect the most points, or get a basketball into a net). They only have the allotted 30 seconds to complete the game before the "Multibowl" fires off another completely different challenge.

The game includes some classic favorites of yesteryear like NBA Jam, Dr. Mario, Tetris, Balloon Fight, and Space Invaders. While young visitors will likely be unfamiliar with nearly all of the offerings, since they were published long before they were born, those older and more experienced gaming aficionados will likely discover some titles they've missed. "Multibowl" creators Bennett Foddy and AP Thomson set out to collect an incredibly eclectic experience, and avoided adding any copy-cats that were obvious rip-offs of already established games. The result is an experience that encapsulates the vast array of arcade history and culture.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Foddy explained his intentions for developing Multibowl. "What if you didn't have to go through the process of starting a game and going through the tutorial level and all of that sort of boring stuff that isn't the fun bit of the game?" Foddy says. "What if it just jumped you into the good bit?" By skipping the instructions and tutorials, which can be mind-numbing if you've already played before, gamers get to be constantly playing. While it's challenging to jump right into something you've never seen of played before, part of the fun of "Multibowl" is switching gears in an instant and discovering game-play on the spot.  

"Multibowl" is on display at the Museum of the Moving Image (718-777-6888, through Feb 15. For a complete list of games see the website.

Looking for other indoor-fun this winter? Check out other great exhibits at children's museums and save some money with free museum days for kids. Afterward, let out some of that extra energy with the best kids' play spaces. 

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