Video Game Museum Scenes

A few months ago, during one of our periodic Texas visits, the family and I got a chance to check out the National Videogame Museum in Frisco. As I’m sure is obvious by my multiple posts about games, I am generally a big fan of them. In fact, my love for video games goes back to my childhood when my family purchased a NES and we had our first experiences with Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. I tend to gravitate more towards swords-and-sorcery genre RPGs, but I’ve enjoyed a wide selection of platformers, sports games, and strategy games. For perspective, the Steam PC platform gives you statistics on total hours played; my top time-absorbers have been Elder Scrolls Skyrim (by a large margin), Dark Souls, Dragon’s Dogma, Pillars of Eternity, and NBA 2K13.

Anyhow, back to the National Videogame Museum. This place is really fantastic. I thought that perhaps, due to different license/copyright holders, developers, and game system companies not wanting to play nicely with each other, this museum might be sort of incomplete. But it was actually surprisingly comprehensive! The place is organized chronologically, and as you walk through, you experience how games and systems developed. It covers everything I can think of, from the early days of arcades and Atari, to Nintendo and Sega’s glory days, and on to the modern age of Sony, Microsoft, and various PC entities.

Aside from fairly standard presentations of hardware and screens showing (or allowing you to play) games, there are also some really unique displays. The museum has some really cool rooms staged to mimic certain time periods and how games fit into the typical living room/bedroom. There was also a gigantic pong game, with control dials that were about the size of my head! The kids and I played that quite a bit while we were there, it was very cool. The tickets were not too bad – $12 for adults, $10 kids, free for toddlers and babies. They even gave us free tokens for the decently-sized arcade at the end. I would definitely recommend it if you’re in the area and love video games.

Naturally, scenes from this museum visit landed in my “to do” list for artwork. And as much as we enjoyed the giant pong machine, I thought that would be a perfect source of some sketches. I started with a scene featuring me and the girls, but I realized it wasn’t clear what exactly we were doing. The three of us were clear, but the perspective didn’t show a screen! We appeared to be just messing with some random giant buttons or something. So, I decided to also do a screen-facing perspective including the monitor.

I’ll start by showing both finished sketches, then discuss each of them, and end with progression .gifs. Here are the finished versions:

These sketches turned out okay overall, but with some noteworthy flaws. Let’s start at the top. The giant pong machine with the girls playing in front looks decent, but it’s evident that I didn’t exercise a ton of patience. This is the usual problem with me trying to work on two things at once – I sometimes cut corners or neglect detail I might normally focus on. Even my graphite outlines are not very accurate, particularly on the wobbly screen lines. The perspective doesn’t seem right – even though the screen placement was off-center in real life, I probably should have positioned it evenly over the console.

The kiddos turned out fine at least, but then again a back view of small figures really isn’t difficult to do. I should have also spent some more time on the background, perhaps adding some color to the back wall. The overall effect viewing it is decent enough for an informal sketch, but I really wouldn’t consider this one of my better efforts.

The second sketch is better, but still has some issues. I really botched the details of my youngest daughter’s face and to some extent the oldest too. This really shouldn’t have been a problem, because I draw them a lot, but somehow it was still a hiccup. I think the representation of me was a bit better, but I did get a little too blending/burnishing happy and lost some detail in the face. I tried to compensate for lost detail by going back over the outlines with graphite, but that made some areas worse. Specifically, my nose and forehead lines are way too thick.

The perspective at least is on point with this one though! And I actually did a pretty good job of depicting my hair and beard coloring and general look. This is definitely recognizable as me, which is always a good starting point for a victory. I think my oldest daughter is also recognizable, but I probably lost too much detail in the blur with my youngest. I like the way the pong dials look here, so that’s another win.

Here are the usual progression .gifs. I only had four frames for the first one unfortunately, so it’s a bit sparse…the second sketch had a couple more.


  • Sounds a great place to visit.

    I recently bought a book “The Art of Atari” which is a real trip down memory lane, even though we never actually owned one as we couldn’t afford it. My friend had one which I got to play on, in one way I wonder if that lack of availability made it an even more special experience.

    I don’t treasure many physical items gained over the years, but they will have to prise my ZX Spectrum from my cold dead hands. That’ll never be sold or scrapped 😉

    • I do think there’s something to that – only getting to play something occasionally making it more special. I had a similar experience with the original NES. Our family did get one eventually, which really set me on a video game heavy path. Ha, when I was a kid, I even subscribed to Nintendo Power magazine – if I wasn’t playing it, I wanted to be reading about it!

      I have to admit, I had to google the ZX Spectrum. That is awesome! No wonder you treasure that one. Does it still work?

      • No, unfortunately it’s been a long time dead and unfixable. There are good emulators on a lot of platforms though and they’ve even re-released a modern version.

        Likewise on reading about it. There were a few magazines at the time with program code in the back pages which I’d religiously type in.

        The artwork on the front of the tapes of games was quite noteworthy.

      • Oh man, that’s a real bummer! I mean, emulators are cool and all, but there’s just something about dusting off an old cartridge and popping it into a dinosaur of a machine. That’s pretty awesome that they re-released a modern version – have you been able to check the new one out?

        Interestingly enough, I actually just this year go my hands on all of our old NES, SNES, and GameBoy stuff. My mom had it sitting in a barn in plastic bins, and somehow the games and system survived a couple decades of Texas summers! I’m not sure how that’s possible, but it’s pretty sweet.

        Man, I do miss the days of video game magazines. I just remember being so excited when the end of the month came and I knew I had a new edition of Nintendo Power waiting for me. I used to try to mimic some of the artwork in there, particularly for the RPGs. I threw them all away at some point, and I’m honestly not sure why.

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