Fast & Furious

May 30th, 2019
Fast & Furious
One of the newest installations at the National Motor Museum in Birdwood has won a national award for best exhibition.

The exhibition, Game Engine: Digital Legends, explores the evolution of driving games and how gaming technology has become a major influence on car manufacturing.

Game Engine is the brain-child of Museum Director Paul Rees and Senior Curator Mick Bolognese.

“Both Paul and I came up with the idea at around the same time,” Mick said.

“He got the inspiration from playing these games with his own children and I used the knowledge from my own personal gaming experience,” he said.

At the exhibition, visitors can explore 11 different driving games which have each influenced motoring in different ways.

The earliest real driving experience game is Atari’s 1976 release, ‘Night Driver’ and from there you can see the progression from controlling large pixels with a joystick to the latest in realistic racing games like ‘Forza Motor Sport 7’.

Paul says it is a really good way to get kids involved in motoring at an early age and to gain driving experience but most of all to see how everything works behind the game.

In the middle of the exhibition, curators have created a giant computer with an engine inside to simulate a ‘game engine’.

The working engine inside was salvaged from a sheet metal factory and is a working sheet metal press which reacts to changes in environment.

“It really looks like a brain the way it is moving and it shows people how outside influences affect it much like an actual game engine,” Mick said.

The new installation was opened mid last year and Paul is expecting it to be around as a permanent fixture of the museum for quite some time.

“No other motoring museum in the world has looked at the impact of technology and gaming has had on motoring and that’s why we have won this award because we are breaking new ground,” he said.

Awarded the a MAGNA award from the Australian Museum and Gallery Association for a permanent exhibition with a budget from $20,000 to $150,000, Paul believes it has been so well received because of the fantastic job they’ve done creating the display and the innovation they have shown.

“It’s really quite special -- we have done something that no one has ever done before in a museum and I think the judges could see that,” Paul said.

Over 65,000 people pass through the museum’s doors annually and this exhibit is proving very popular among visitors.

Paul says people are really loving the selection of games as there are ones older people remember and new ones that kids can play.

“It is a really good way to get kids and adults interacting driving with each other,” Mick said.

The focus of ‘Game Engine’ is to show people what is happening behind the game and to show how gaming influences current vehicle manufacturing.

“It shows and explains how these games have impacted car manufacturing these days from the processing systems to GPS and automation,” Mick said.

Paul and Mick both love the exhibition themselves and will regularly have a play on the games with Paul’s favourite being the arcade classic, ‘Daytona’ and Mick’s favourite is his childhood pick, ‘Crazy Taxi’.

The Birdwood National Motor Museum is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm.

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