If Chicago can have a Museum of Ice Cream, an Art Institute, a surgical science museum, and a Museum of Science and Industry, then by all means, it should have a museum devoted to nearly a half-century of video games.
I was an avid Pong and Ms. Pac Man fan in my youth. So it’s nice to have a place to celebrate these innovations. They hold a place in my heart that bears the memories of video game dates, sometimes besting my date, followed pizza and breaking my curfew.
Enter Chicago Gamespace, 2418 W. Bloomingdale Avenue. The museum was founded by curator Jonathan Kinkley and co-curator Tim Lapetino. Asthe curators say on their website, Chicago Gamespace is a place “Where visitors learn about, play, and are inspired by a collection of the most important video games from the 20th century. It encompasses a permanent collection, special exhibitions, a library of video game-related magazines and books, and a shop of video game art prints.”
They opened in 2021 with a celebration of “Nom Nom: 40 Years of Pac-Man Design and History” Whether you’re a fan of Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Defender, Centipede, Pole Position, Oregon Trail, Super Mario Brothers, Tetris, Zelda, Mortal Kombat 2, Doom, NBA Jam, Cruis’N USA, and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time among others, the history of the gaming world is yours in the two-story structure that serves as the site of this unique museum.
Event: Celebrating 40 years of ‘TRON’
Forty-one years ago, future Oscar winner Jeff Bridges and Chicago-area natives Cindy Morgan and Bruce Boxleitner starred in the Disney classic ‘TRON,’ reportedly the first computer-generated film. As They are transported inside the software world of a mainframe computer where he interacts with programs in his attempt to escape, as reported by Wikipedia sources. Now through August 27, Chicago Gamespace is paying tribute to the game universe of TRON.
Visitors will enter through Flynn’s Arcade, the immortal arcade owned by Jeff Bridges’ Flynn character in the sci-fi classic, and learn about the original TRON arcade game’s history and development before entering an immersive Light Cycle arena featuring other games from the franchise.
Chicago Gamespace is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5pm. A general admission ticket is $8 (age 13+). Kids admission is $5 (ages 5-12). Veterans and kids under 5 are free. Admission also includes access to the second floor video game history collection. To reserve tickets, click here.
Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago