Monday, 27 July 2015

PLAY It! Manchester at The Museum of Science and Industry

Now that we're fully into the summer holidays and that first week of lie-ins and pyjama days and daytime TV is out of the way (or is it just me that does those things?), my attention is turning to the eternal conundrum of trying to keep the kids entertained for another five weeks.

Usually most efforts made by me on this part seem to fall flat on their faces.  Soft Play and crafting is deemed too babyish by the older ones (and rightly so) and anything more grown up is too difficult for my twins to appreciate.  It is really hard to find just one activity that they all enjoy.

That's a white lie actually. There is ONE activity that they all enjoy and argue about.


Which is why when the people at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if we'd like to attend their first ever gaming event, (which is suitable for children from age 5 and up) - PLAY It!, I was quick to reply to their email!

So on Sunday morning we got up bright and early, herded all five children into the car and made our way to MOSI to check it out.

My brood were understandably excited at the prospect of a room filled with every games console known to mankind, and even DH was quietly anticipating getting to grips with a beloved Commodore 64 and playing some of the classic games of his youth (Horace Goes Skiing, anyone?)

We weren't disappointed.

Where to begin?

PLAY It! really did have almost everything from the past 30 years of gaming. We played Pong and Pac-Man. My kids had a go each on Minecraft (of course) and Halo.  There was even an Oculus Rift which had a queue so large that we couldn't get near it!

Playing Minecraft (of course)

DS1 and DS2 both took part in some multiplayer games, I even found DS1 talking to a couple of other teens (no idea what they were saying - it was all geek, I mean Greek to me), while playing Smash Bros on a Nintendo Gamecube that had been set up with a huge TV screen and several controllers. 

The Gamecube

The gamer (in the shadows - it was really very dark in there!)

We lost little DS3 to Sonic the Hedgehog on the Xbox pretty early on and DH retired to the cafe area at the back of the room after discovering he was in his own personal hell - a room full of gamers.  I'm joking about that last bit.  I think he was just a bit disappointed that there was no Horace Goes Skiing.

A much loved Commodore 64 (but no Horace)

It didn't matter though.  Because for me, a parent who spends 99.9% of her life breaking up rows over the Xbox and who's turn it is next, I was just happy that all my children were busy for an hour and a half doing the thing that they love and not arguing!  An air of calm descended over me, rather like after a really large gin and tonic, as I watched them all enjoying themselves.

A rare picture of three of my children not arguing AND enjoying themselves!

Getting to grips with the Dreamcast

Playing a multiplayer game on the Xbox

After a while DD2 decided it was quite a good idea to pull me around the room by the hand and make me play games against her - there really is no arguing with a determined five year old is there?  She thrashed me on Mario Kart on the SNES and then beat me in some sort of rhythm game with maracas on the Wii.  I still beat her at Pong though.  Sometimes the games of your youth never really die do they?

I thoroughly recommend a trip to PLAY It! Manchester, which is on at MOSI until 9th August.  Especially if you or your family are as gaming obsessed as my lot are, or if you just want a trip down memory lane.  To find out more about it or to book tickets, visit their website here

We were given tickets to attend PLAY It! Manchester for the purpose of this review.  All words and opinions are our own.

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