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Tickets on sale Spring 2024 Exhibition National Museum of Scotland

Game On

29 Jun - 3 Nov 2024

Special Exhibition Gallery, Level 3

Tickets on sale spring 2024


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Game On at Life, Newcastle, in 2015.

© Richard Kenworthy

Game On at Life, Newcastle, in 2015.

© Richard Kenworthy

About the exhibition

Get set for Game On - the largest interactive exhibition of the history and the culture of video games.

Game On, an exhibition conceived and curated by Barbican Immersive, examines the creative and technological advances that have established a new medium and artform. ​

From Sonic the Hedgehog to Mario, explore gaming's rich history by playing many of the key games produced over the last 50 years.

Nine players line up to play across a number of static consoles in a Game On exhibition space at Life in Newcastle.

Tickets on sale spring 2024

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A visitor looks at a brightly lit neon wall, in Game On at Fundación Canal.

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A new chance to play

The exhibition will open over 20 years after the National Museum of Scotland was its very first touring venue in October 2002, after its initial opening run at the Barbican in London.

As the exhibition has evolved and changed, over five million people of all ages have visited this interactive exhibition in 24 cities around the world.

Explore the themes

The exhibition is organised in 13 themed sections, inviting visitors to explore game design and technological parallels across the decades.

The sections explore different types of gaming, from handheld to home console to arcade machines across a range of genres. They also think about wider cultural aspects such as the links between gaming and both music and film. 

Early Games

Find examples of mechanical games that were the precursors to videogames.

There are also examples of the very first videogames, arcade machines, and even earlier games originally playable on large Mainframe computers.

Top Ten

Top Ten will take visitors through the development of the home console experience.

The section features the ten most influential home consoles and displays, focusing on the main console manufactures.


Genres showcases the diversity of types of gameplays.

As games have grown in technological and design sophistication, new genres have developed. There is a videogame for almost every type of interest, from cooking to playing football, or even for the adventurer.


Characters will let visitors play some of the key games with iconic characters such as Sonic the hedgehog and Mario.

Uncover the different characters in different franchises as well as the evolution in complexity of the characters as technology advances.

World Games

World Games shows visitors how global videogames are today.

Featuring twelves games from twelve different countries, World Games compares the styles of games made from across the globe.


The Cinema section shows how cinema and videogames are closely connected.

Film and videogames have had a great influence on each other. Videogames inspired the visually unique 1981 Disney film Tron (1982), and games have been trying to re-create iconic cinematic moments ininteractive form from Starwars (1983) to Golden Eye (1997).

Music & Sound

Music & Sound presents a section for a fundamental element in videogames.

Music creates atmosphere and builds anticipation. It’s as important as thegraphic elements in transporting players to alternative worlds

Kids Games

In this part of the exhibition, you'll find games that are perfect for families to play together.

You'll be able to brush up on your spelling and drawings skills and even do some number crunching.

Handheld Gaming

Handheld Gaming explores the development of handheld gaming from very basic games to the preeminent smartphone format.

As more powerful computers became available in portable formats, the games became more complex and more similar to those in arcades and home consoles.

Independent Games

Independent Games showcases games made by small teams with limited budgets.

These creators experiment with newand unique ideas, bringing to life games that become very popular.


Multiplayer allows visitors to challenge their friends in a variety of multiplayer games from across gaming history.

These games have huge virtual worlds that evolve and expand over time. Some games are meant to be played with friends and family.

Immersive worlds

Immersive worlds looks at experimental technologies old and new - 3D display technologies, motion sensing and virtual reality are all featured.

This section of the exhibition looks at how videogames transport us into a game and make us feel immersed in another world.


In this section of the exhibition visitors can experience a playable history of gaming’s golden age.

Before computers were cheap enough to have in every home or every pocket, arcades were the birthplace of the medium and industry.

An exhibition conceived and curated by Barbican Immersive in partnership with National Museums Scotland.

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