The United States Of Game-rica: America’s Video Game Museums
In the last week alone, I got nostalgia-inducing video game updates like GoldenEye 007 coming to the Nintendo Switch and new Mario Kart tracks from versions I played a decade ago.
Still, what’s been especially fun about this new era in video games is the revival of so many classic games that we haven’t been able to play for years.
But what about the games that don’t get remade? What about the systems that inspired the systems we use today? And what about… Pong?!
Video game history extends far back past the games and systems we can easily access. Sure, the occasional YouTube video might give you a blast-from-the-past experience, but video games are as significant to our culture as any other form of entertainment.
Fortunately, the past few years have seen more and more video game museums celebrating this culture and its history.
So while you’re still waiting for all that fresh downloadable content to load on your platform of choice or you’re waiting for your friends to come over for a throwback LAN party, check out the list below where we’ve gathered a list of video game museums throughout America.
List of Video Game Museums in America
California - Musee Mecanique - Located on the wharf in San Francisco, the Musee Mecanique features around 300 playable machines. And we do mean machines, because some, like a large farm diorama, may stretch your imagination about what constitutes a video game. Still, it’s a trip to experience these one-of-a-kind carnival amusements that date back to the late 1800s.
California - The Museum of Art And Digital Entertainment - Also in San Francisco, the MADE (Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment) is dedicated to elevating the art form of digital entertainment. With a collection of 12,000 games across 40 systems, video game aficionados are welcome to play, research, and talk video games at this center.
- Illinois - America’s Playable Arcade Museum - Known also as Arcadia, this museum features 70 machines from a collection of nearly 1,500, while the Route 66 Arcade Museum has even older models. If the one thing that bothers you about video game museums is having to leave at night, then you might also enjoy Hotel Arcadia, a video game-forward bed-and-breakfast filled to the brim with games and gaming memorabilia.
New Hampshire - American Classic Arcade Museum - A museum centered on the classics, this New Hampshire museum’s focus is on video games from before 1990 with 275 playable machines (and more than 450 in the collection).
New York - National Museum of Play - Known also as The Strong, this multipurpose museum has a few exhibitions dedicated to video games, including the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, and World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Pennsylvania - Coin Operated Gaming Hall of Fame and Museum - Leave the coins at home to enjoy the 400 machines from Pinball PA, Pittsburgh’s arcade and museum. In addition to the playable games like Asteroids, Thunderball, and an original Japanese Space Invaders, their museum highlights the development of video gaming culture, as well as cross-sections of some famous machines.
- Texas - National Video Game Museum - Located in Frisco, the National Video Game Museum features both the history of video games, including a prototype of the Sega Neptune among other vintage pieces, as well as a celebration of video games. From the world’s largest Pong console to a retro bedroom featuring classic games, this museum offers both history and play.
- Washington - MoPOP Indie Game Revolution - As part of the Museum of Pop Culture, the Indie Game Revolution exhibit features stories on “independent video game developers, designers, coders, composers, and critics” in an inviting space that shares what’s happening in the present and future of gaming.