Week 13 Reflections on Console Living Room

Go to the Console Living Room on the 4th floor of the ITCC.  Play a game or two.  Write about the experience and how it relates to the way we’ve talked about technology as having a past and a culture this semester.

18 responses to “Week 13 Reflections on Console Living Room

  1. During class time, I went to the Console Living Room and had quite the experience. I played with the original nintendo on one of the tvs. This game relates to how we’ve been talking about how technology has changed so much in such a short amount of time. I have at my house the up to date nintendo and the graphics and controls are so different. The screen is slow to move to the next one and the characters are more like circles, instead of showing actual features. It shows the cultural differences of a living room in 1985 to 2015. The TV is small and bulky, and now they are slim and have a wide screen. The controls are bigger too and harder to handle and use and now they are sleek, which relates back to the theme of technology is always changing and someone is always creating a better, more likable, more efficient way to do something, even to have fun.

  2. Alli Leibowitz

    I also went during class time. It was definitely like walking back in time, which is was significant since the console room is located in the newest and most modern building on campus. I sat on the couch and smelled the same scents from my grandparents’ basement with many items from around 1985 (or older). I especially liked the wood panelling details on the walls, tvs and consoles. The room certainly shows how past technological artifacts have a culture. It also shows how the technology of console games have changed when compared with the game systems of today. I appreciated the chance to play several games in the room and was able to experience how fun older technological artifacts can be. While the artifacts are always evolving, that does not necessarily mean the past artifacts were not efficient in the time they were developed.

  3. jpeytonbrown

    I stopped by the console living room today on my way to an appointment at the speaking center, and I felt like I was somehow transported to my grandparent’s house. I think the couch that is here in the Convergence Center is the same one that my grandparents had until quite recently, and the wood paneling on the walls really helped set the scene. All of the various wires and controllers looked really overwhelming tangled up on the coffee table considering how simple the games that they play are compared to today’s games. I very seldom play video games, but seeing all those wires made me really appreciate wireless controllers that we have now.

  4. Andrew Boswell

    Every time I stop by the console living it really feels like I am traveling back in time. Comparing the technology that the console living room has to what living rooms now have you can see that things are somewhat different. Many living rooms no longer use radios and some do not even have some sort of media player. Most people now rely on digital services for watching shows, films or playing music.
    The console living room is an example of technology brought families together in the past. You have the family friendly NES system that anyone can pick up and play because of its simple controls and how the game controller looks like a remote for a T.V. You also have the T.V. itself that allowed families to huddle on the couch and watch their favorite programs on a small screen together. The programs in the past were a lot more family friendly as well, so parents and their children could bond while watching. Some popular shows of the present might be bit hard to watch with your parents. For example, people do not watch the popular series, Game of Thrones, with their parents due to the various sex scenes making things awkward and uncomfortable.

  5. Rachael Piazza

    After visiting the console living room today I was shocked to see how put together it was! I was not picturing to see all the details in this room considering it is in a modern building. It really brought me back in time and I was able to picture myself back in the day on the couch looking at the big boxed television playing the original Nintendo. I loved the design and all the thought put into the room to really bring you back in time.
    Also, I did not even know about this room until it was brought up to go visit so it was definitely a new experience that I was unaware of on campus!

  6. I have gotten the opportunity to go to the UMW console room several times with some of my classes, as well as on my own free time, and it is always a very cool experience. The umw console room works to recreate the culture and values of 1985 by encapsulating the technology that was so prevalent in living rooms during the time. The whole space is intended to reflect the time, even points as small as the 1980s globe. I have gotten to try out most of the systems but this time I went and played around with the Atari system for the most part, particularly the game Yar’s revenge. The games themselves and the hardware of the consoles embody to culture of 1985 as much as the furniture that was chosen. Visually the room clearly brings you back to 1985, but it is playing the games that helps you get a better understanding of the values and media that were consumed and constituted culture.

  7. Going to the console living room was like going to an interactive museum exhibit for me. I found it especially striking because museums don’t often have exhibits on the 1980s since it was only three decades ago. However, within the context of technology much has changed. My friend and I found it difficult to operate the consoles because the on/off buttons were not obvious the way they are today and they sometimes shared functions. While the technology has changed, many of the games were similar to ones today. Additionally, I think games still play a similar role in homelife and recreation today, even though they have become more complicated and the technology is wireless and more compact.

  8. erinwhiteman

    I was more impressed by the Console Living Room than I expected to be. It was very authentic: Like a lot of others, I was reminded of my grandmother’s living room, which has the same television set and wood paneling. Aesthetically, I was struck by how bulky everything was. Everything today has clean lines and flat screens. I can’t speak to the video game console, because I don’t even know much about modern video games, let alone video games from 30 years ago, but I will assume it was just as authentic as everything else. I think the Console Living Room really speaks to a lot of what we’ve discussed this semester, particularly the mainstreaming of technology. The exhibit is designed to look like an average, middle-class living room; the technology it displays was not reserved for the very wealthy or elite – it was something that many Americans had right in their own homes. I think it also speaks to the longevity of certain types of technology. A lot of times when a new fad comes out, people will remark that “it won’t last,” but video game consoles are still important parts of American home life today.

  9. Isabel Saari

    One par of the console living room that stuck me as strange was the bean bag chair. I’m sure many of us had one of these as a child, but overall, our ideas of comfort and style have changed. Not only has home technology progressed in the forms of video games, television, and radio, but also in how we enjoy these mediums. Now we use slick recliners and fancy gaming chairs instead of just bean bags and couches. Everything now of course is sleeker and thinner than before, but it’s also portable. We have radios in our phones and iPods, we have gaming and tv watching capabilities on smaller tablets and phones. A lot of technology is largely outside of the home as opposed to only in our living rooms.

  10. Megan Bannon

    I was very impressed with the console living room. It made me feel like I was back at my grandparents house or watching a scene from a movie. It really shows how far technology has progressed. Games are faster with more realistic graphics and movies are filmed in HD and we watch them on DVDs rather than VHS. Like Isabel said, it is interesting to see how the ideas of comfort have changed and what seemed extravagant at the time is nowhere near today’s standards.

  11. Jenni Sherba

    I work on the fourth floor in the Writing Center, so I’ve been exposed to the console living room for the last couple of weeks. It’s definitely a cool exhibit, and sitting down in front of the old television felt like stepping back in time. I never really played video games as a kid, so perhaps that’s why I didn’t feel the nostalgia or wonder that the other students who were gamers felt. Also, I’m guessing that my reaction to the console living room the past few weeks resembles what many parents of gamers felt during the time: bemusement at first, and then slight annoyance as students played Mario Bros at full volume, over and over again, while I was trying to work.

    This made me think about how technology can be experienced in very different ways. A 12 year old child in 1985 might have loved video games, while his parents might have found it headache-inducing or frivolous. It was an advancement in technology as entertainment; sometimes, that advancement just happens to get on your nerves.

  12. I went to the console living room Wednesday morning. While it certainly is cool due to all of the old technology, the juxtaposition of the old technology in a building filled with new technology is very interesting. I stepped out of the new, sparkly convergence center and into my grandparents’ basement. I’ve had the chance to play games on an Atari and an NES before and it’s cool to watch people experience these consoles for the first time. I’m an avid fan of video games and their history, so it’s nice to have some of the first mainstream consoles available to play. It’s amazing how much video game technology has advanced in 30 years.

  13. I love the UMW Console Living room. Although, I wasn’t alive in the 80s, the space brings back a few memories of when I was a kid. One in particular was playing Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) that my dad still has. I can still clearly remember playing it with my sister in our playroom when we were maybe 6 or 7. So once I heard about the Living Room I was really intrigued to see what it had to offer. I even had the chance to bring my dad to it when he was here a few weeks ago.

    After testing some of the systems, I found that the Atari 2600 and the NES were the best to play. The fact that there were so many options with these consoles really stood out to me. When my dad was here we played Space Invaders on the Atari. He remembered clearly using up all his quarters to play the arcade game when Space Invaders first came out, then playing it when it was on the Atari. He also reminisced having his NES when he was in college and playing that for hours on the weekends.

    After talking with him about each console, it made me realize that this really had a huge culture around it. Even in my family where the NES has been passed down a generation. And its grown ever since the personal computer.

  14. Mercia Spicer

    I went to the console living room during this past week. I had really wanted to try to play the video games but the TVs were off and the video games had been unplugged and I didn’t know how or where to plug them in to make them work. I was super disappointed. So I was just sitting in the living room and some professors came by and they were all just talking about the console living room and I could tell that they were reminiscing about their childhood. One professor hooked up the VCR and put in the movie back to the future. I have seen this move many times. It was fun to watch it in the living room 1. because it was VHS and 2. the couch is honestly super comfortable! Later on another TV someone put on cartoons and that was also fun to relax and watch. The TV had this crackling sound in the background and sometimes the picture would get a little fuzzy then come back. The console living room relates to class discussions in a number of ways. If we were to have TV and person electronics be an artifact, the technology seen in this living room would serve as antecedents. Well first I would say radio is an antecedent to the radio. The TV allows both sound and picture to be transmitted. The TV helps with broadcasting by not only telling the viewer what is going on but showing them. This could have been very appealing to family then just as it is today because sometimes it is easier to understand a situation when you see it rather than just hear it. In addition i can just imagine the advertisement for TV’s. Something along the lines of “don’t go out and have to pay to see a picture.” Picture being film. The biggest thing that the living room relates to what we have talked about is constant innovation and fine tuning of technology. You have mentioned several times that dominance in electronics rarely lasts 5 years. These TV and video games prove that. The TV’s were big and bulky, but that was a style that most people had until about 2009 or so. One thing i noticed were the knobs on the TV’s as well as the type of buttons on the remotes. I found it hard to know where the power button was and one tv had a power button and a main power button and I have no idea what that meant. The remotes were bigger and so were the buttons on the remote. There were also fewer buttons on the remote because all you really needed was input, volume, and channel. I think it is important to note not only the style of the TV that changed but the quality of the picture and sound and the same can be said for the VHS player turning into the DVD. The picture has been fine tuned to be more sharp and the crackling sound in the back has been taken away. In addition as those changes are being made the TV has become more slim. It seems as though that is now the style of all technology right now. The DVD player is more slim and maybe therefore prettier to the eye? Also with a DVD you don’t have to rewind manually. In addition video games, the controllers have become more compact as well as the game and consoles. To me it looked like the original design is always in cooperated into the new ones. The idea of the joystick. It is simply a matter of size of the joystick and the addition of buttons around the joystick rather than on it. The console living room shows technological evolution. That inventions are continuously changing. Even today new TVs are advertised for all the time. Many people my age just use the laptop as a TV and some only their Ipad or phone. The living room shows just how quickly all technology can advance. But I think that it also shows that the quality may have been better as far as how long that technology has a life to keep working. Today people are so wrapped up in the material object of technology and are willing to upgrade every year. But these games and TV’s are still working after over 20 years.

  15. leah kaufman

    The console living room is definetly an experience I will remember. Growing up, I personally never had a nintendo. I always saw my friends have those types of technology so I was never really exposed to that. Playing the nintendo in the room was a very different experience and makes me appreciate how fast and modern video games are today. I have enough trouble just trying to play today’s version of video games so experiencing what it was like back then was interesting. Overall I loved the details and the actual feel you got from stepping into the room. This just demonstrates that technology not only relates to specific artifacts but also transforms a world and various environments.

  16. Athena Tavuchis

    The Console Living Room was definitely an experience. It was so crazy to see how much technology has advanced in such a short amount of time. It also showed how much technology has changed an affected the way we interact socially. I feel like the living room represents a place that brings people together to play a game or watch tv or a movie and in todays society people are so consumed in their own screens that we forget how to interact with people without all of the extra technologies.

  17. Seeing the Console Living Room was definitely like taking a step back in time for me. I grew up watching the Saturday morning cartoons of Shirt Tales, The Smurfs, and Richie Rich on a console television that had 3 network channels and no remote control. You had to dislike what you were watching enough to get up and walk across the room to change the channel. That normally occurred when the New Scooby Doo Mysteries (with Scrappy Doo) came on because it just wasn’t the same as the original. Sometimes being able to channel surf meant laying on the floor with your head propped on a pillow in order to change the channel faster.
    I wasn’t lucky enough to get an Atari when they first came out but my best friend at the time was. We would play it for hours in his wooden panel basement until our parents yelled at us to “get off that game and go play outside!” One of my favorite Christmases was when I got one of the first Nintendo game systems. Duck Hunt and Mike Tyson’s Punch Out provided hours of entertainment for me and my friends. While I never was a so-called “gamer,” I did find myself spending a lot of time in the rooms of my friends that looked just like the console room, bean bag chairs included. The ability of the Console Living Room to bring back a flood of memories was amazing. I think that the Console Living Room is a great tool to demonstrate just how far technology has come. Even though I’m graduating this year I may find myself coming back whenever I need a nostalgic fix.

  18. One Thursday afternoon I was casually walking to class. I had entered the elevator from the ground floor and had thought I pushed the familiar button to floor 3. I was mistaken. When I exited the elevator, I noticed a strange aroma. I observed bulky televisions and plaid furniture. My initial fear was correct–I had transported to the 1980s. I sensed that I would be trapped in this strange realm of VCRs and Vinyl until I could muster the courage to beat a single video game.
    I looked around. Wires, wires everywhere and not a one plug plugged in. Wires, wires everywhere; my untangling must begin. I fought the cable serpents, forcing their screw-pieces to merge with the connector on the television. Oh, the resulting fuzzy image. A loose connection was then wiggled and alas, distinguishable pixels had appeared.
    On my first quest, I played role of a cube that had to dodge other cubes flying around the screen. Using my asteroids-like reflexes and my training from many years on Frogger I maintained my cool and completed my challenge. Next I searched around for another game to defeat. My eyes fell upon Rampage, a game for a different consul. Again, I had to defeat the wiry serpent and establish a new connection. This game was more interesting; I played the part of either Godzilla or King Kong and aimed to destroy buildings.
    While I was on my rampaging journey, other peers from class were warped to the same Twilight Zone that had captured me. We agreed to help each other escape. Foosball, we believed, must be the answer. After a quick game I began to think… wow, I have learned quite a bit about technology and culture today!
    I began to look around and think of antecedents for all the objects. I thought how thread and dye technology evolved into plaid couches. I thought how computer programs evolved from games where blocks had to dodge other blocks to pixels climbing blocks and Rampaging. I thought of the underlying selection process and the many failed video games that were never popularized. Electricity had become a standard commodity and ran cheap enough to use for fun. I though of “research labs” full of gamers testing for glitches and marketing strategies that would reach out to the largest masses. Then my quest was over. A staircase had appeared and I was able to leave the realm of the 80s. Knowledge, apparently, was the key to escape. After I had learned what it was like to struggle with consuls without instructions, skippy VCRs and vinyl, crackly music, and cartoon characters hopping from level to level- I was free.