Game On 2.0 at Life in Newcastle features a huge selection of computer games. Launch night had a definite 'Mario' theme as we were greeted by the main man himself and served drinks by lots of Mario helpers much to the delight of our children.
As we listened to the opening speeches our children amused themselves with some of the other exciting areas Life has to offer as we waited for the doors to Game On 2.0 to open.
At approximately 5:30pm the doors were finally opened and Game On 2.0 was revealed. There was a bit of a rush and a real feel of anticipation in the air - we couldn't wait to see what was inside!
We certainly were not disappointed! As I walked around the exhibition it was like I had been transported right back to my childhood. I even spotted our first ever computer along with a few 'cassette tape' games! Remember them?
All of the games are there to be played on and my husband Steve was in his element as he played on Streetfighter, Sonic, Mario and Pacman - all blasts from his past.
Our children were keen to have a go at some of the retro games too. Every gaming console has easy to follow instructions next to the controller - who knew there were so many different ways and controllers to play games?
There were plenty of modern games too with guitar hero and wii sports being amongst our favourites.
As Steve was left to explore the arcade games I headed to the younger children's area to see what was on offer.
Harry (aged 8), Heidi (aged 6) and Jack (aged 4) all really enjoyed this area. There was one downfall in that there is only one 'minecraft' computer and as it is a never-ending game there was sometimes a little machine-hogging going on. Embarrassingly, there were a few tears from my children as I asked them to let someone else have a go with cries of 'but I've only just started' and 'it's not fair - he had longer' echoing around my ears. Honestly what is it with minecraft!?!
Whilst the children were playing on minecraft, I took the opportunity to take a look at the information surrounding the exhibition. Bright paintings, fun facts and interactive boards surround the room and there is always something new to look at.
After a full two hours play, our children started to get restless and we realised it was way past their bed time! We picked up our Game On 2.0 cakes on leaving and our children asked if we could come back tomorrow! High praise indeed!
I have been asked on our facebook page several times what age I think this exhibition is suitable for. I have given it a lot of thought and truly do believe there is something for all ages. Especially as the exhibition is included as part of your entrance to the whole of Life so you also have access to the experiment zone, 4D motion ride, Planetarium, Young explorers zone, Curiosity zone and Science theatre to explore too.
Everyone will enjoy the exhibition but if I was pushed I would probably say the Game On 2.0 exhibit was perfectly suited to ages 6+. It is certainly the place to visit if you have difficult tweenagers or teens to entertain and a ticket will definitely earn you some cool mum points. Likewise, if you have a family of mixed ages as we do it is a nice place to visit together as there is something for everyone to play and enjoy.
On a final note, I will say that Game On 2.0 is certainly not just for boys. After listening to Linda Conlon (Chief executive, International Centre for Life), Chi Onwurah (MP, Newcastle Central) and Elena Zardini (Exhibition manager) talk so passionately about how Newcastle is a hub for the digital age, I couldn't help but hope that Heidi had been inspired by these successful women in technology.
Game On 2.0 continues at Life until 3rd January 2016. Tickets cost £12.95 per adult and £7.50 per child and includes entry to the whole of the Science Centre. Under 5's are free!
Children aged 13+ are allowed into the centre unaccompanied and I can think of no better present for a teen this year than an annual pass to the centre for only £18.95 which allows them unlimited entry for a whole year!
If you are looking for a family day out that is fun for all ages and suitable for all weathers, a visit to Life Science Centre is highly recommended.