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Show all

Opening times

Museum, boutique and bistro

Tu – We 10:00 – 17:00

Th 10:00 – 19:00

Fr – Su 10:00 – 17:00

Mo closed

Library

Tu – We, Fr 10:00 – 18:00

Th 10:00 – 19:00

Sa – Mo closed

Special opening times

Mo 12/21/2020 10:00 – 17:00

Tu 12/22/2020 10:00 – 17:00

We 12/23/2020 10:00 – 17:00

Th 12/24/2020 10:00 – 14:00 Christmas Eve

Fr 12/25/2020 10:00 – 17:00 Christmas

Sa 12/26/2020 10:00 – 17:00 St. Stephen´s Day

Su 12/27/2020 10:00 – 17:00

Mo 12/28/2020 10:00 – 17:00

Tu 12/29/2020 10:00 – 17:00

We 12/30/2020 10:00 – 17:00

Th 12/31/2020 10:00 – 17:00 New Year´s Eve

Fr 1/1/2021 10:00 – 17:00 New Year´s Day

Sa 1/2/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Saint Berchtold

Fr 4/2/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Good Friday

Su 4/4/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Easter

Mo 4/5/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Easter Monday

Mo 4/19/2021 closed Sechseläuten

Sa 5/1/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Labour Day

Th 5/13/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Ascension Day

Su 5/23/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Whitsun

Mo 5/24/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Whit Monday

Su 8/1/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Swiss National Holiday

Sa 9/4/2021 18:00 – 0:00 Zurich's long night of museums

Su 9/5/2021 0:00 – 2:00 Zurich's long night of museums

Mo 9/13/2021 closed Knabenschiessen

Show all

Games

National Museum Zurich | 17.1.2020 - 6.9.2020
published on 15.1.2020

Just a few decades ago, video games were considered nothing more than a techy gimmick. Gaming is now one of the world’s top leisure activities. The National Museum Zurich is now devoting an exhibition to this remarkable phenomenon.

In the space of a few decades, video games have evolved from a techy gimmick at North American universities to a global industry. Between 2016 and 2019, revenues in this still young sector increased by around 22 billion, to just under 123 billion US dollars, making it more successful than the Hollywood film industry.

Today, around 2.5 billion people play these games. That’s one third of the world’s population. The fascination with video games started in the United States in the 1950s. William Higinbotham made it possible for the athletically challenged to play tennis from the comfort of their sofas. The physicist’s ‘Tennis for Two’ was the world’s second video game, and marked the real beginning of the industry’s development. By the 1970s, games had become a credible economic factor. The electronic games found their way into the living room, and were marketed as a family activity. Video games were also catching on in the public sphere. In amusement arcades, they became serious competition for the pinball machines that had been popular up to then. A golden era had dawned: the age of the arcade game. In restaurants, in shopping centres and at airports, people could play games such as ‘Pac-Man’ and ‘Space Invaders’, and many a youngster gambled away his entire pocket money on the popular games.

A decade later, the first LAN parties were held. Gamers met in groups and connected up their computers via a local area network, so they could play together. Sometimes these groups filled entire halls. At the same time, the computer industry developed mobile devices, enabling people to play online and when they were out and about. In the new millennium, video games were finally combined with virtual reality. This complete immersion in the worlds of fantasy play was a completely new experience.

With the rise of video games to become a serious global economic factor, the downsides also became apparent from an early stage. Many games operate with a reward system that can be earned by playing a lot, or bought for money. That creates a problem for young players in particular, and in some instances gambling legislation has been violated. The survival game ‘Fortnite’ is currently the subject of particular criticism. In autumn 2019, parents in Canada brought a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer, Epic Games. The group’s accusation: the game was knowingly programmed to make adolescents become addicted. The verdict hasn’t been handed down yet.

But gaming is like almost everything in life: it’s about finding the right balance. The new exhibition ‘Games’ at the National Museum Zurich traces the fascinating history of the video game, and invites visitors to play for themselves in a setting typical of the time. With that said, let’s play!

 

Mini-game for the exhibition

Images

Description

Key-Visual of the exhibition «Games»

Copyright: Swiss National Museum / Roli Hofer

Description

Apple Macintosh Plus 1 von 1986

Copyright: Swiss National Museum

Description

A view of the exhibition.

Copyright: Swiss National Museum

Description

A view of the exhibition.

Copyright: Swiss National Museum

Description

A view of the exhibition.

Copyright: Swiss National Museum

Description

A view of the exhibition.

Copyright: Swiss National Museum

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