Retro Video Games & Classic Science Fiction Comics Expo at NUI Galway To Celebrate 40th anniversary of Computer Gaming


 Panel in the Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland, DERI, NUI Galway

A special event in NUI Galway on Friday will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the birth of popular computer gaming when the Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland, located in the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), will host a ‘Retro Games’ extravaganza. 
Members of the general public are invited along to enjoy the wonders of classic games including Asteroids, Pacman, Space Invaders, Sonic the Hedgehog and Earthworm Jim on legendary consoles and computers such as the Sega Mega Drive, Nintendo,  Atari, Amiga and the Commodore 64.
The sights and sounds on offer will capture the essence of the early days of computer gaming of the 1970s and 1980 which made a major contribution in the overall development of digital sound and graphics. 
Of particular significance will be the showing of ‘Pong’, the first commercially successful video game, released in 1972 by a then new American company called Atari Inc. which was primarily responsible for the formation of the computer game and video arcade industries.
Attendees will also be introduced to the software coding that constitutes the games and will be able therefore to gain an insight into how digital technology actually works.

There will also be displays of American and European 1960s science fiction comics and memorabilia including Star Trek, Thunderbirds, Green Lantern, Thor and the Avengers. Today's children can relate to many of these  fictitious characters as they are  making a welcome return to modern day cinema.
 

1960s Science Fiction Comics:
Influencing Social Change & Inspiring Scientific & Technology Innovation
Science Fiction has inspired generations of young people to invent future technologies from robotics to space stations.
This was particularly evident in the 1960s when manned space travel began with Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to journey into outer space on 12th April 1961.  Before the decade had ended, mankind had landed on the Moon.
On July 20th 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto its surface from the Lunar module Eagle.
 Space travel captured the imagination of youth and the 1960s witnessed an explosion of popular science fiction worldwide that embraced comics, films, television programmes and toys.
In the United States, Marvel and DC comics created a myriad of super–heroes that appealed to a young readership because of their exciting adventures across distant galaxies that promised an often benign future where interplanetary travel would become a characteristic of high tech societies. 
For the first time, children read about civilisations where women as well as boys and girls particularly teenagers fought battles for truth and justice. 

Females heroines such as Wonder Woman and teenagers such as Saturn Girl and the X-Men were as prominent in science fiction as adult males such as Iron Man and Hawkman.  
For the first time, super-heroes did not have to have by definition the perfect physiques. A number of the genre had disabilities such as blindness (Daredevil) and heart defects (Iron Man).
There was a realisation too that mankind’s attitudes and technologies were endangering the health of the planet, the destruction of other species and of humanity itself. This environmental message features prominently in comics such as the Sub Mariner and in films such as the Planet of the Apes (1969) and Soylent Green (1973).
In recent years, there has been a remarkable rebirth in these classic super heroes thanks to CGI (Computer-generated imagery). Films such as Thor and Green Lantern were  box-office successes in 2011 and this year sees the return of the Avengers

The event takes places within National Engineers’ Week and is part of an exciting schedule of activities across Ireland designed to capture the imagination of youth and to demonstrate the benefits and challenges that careers in science and technology represents.

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