The iconic sounds of Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog and Crash Bandicoot will echo through the Whanganui Regional Museum these school holidays.
The Retro Gaming exhibition showcases the history of gaming from the arcade cabinets of the early 1980s to the home consoles of today and - unlike other museum exhibitions - visitors are encouraged to have a go.
Louise Follett, the museum's external relations co-ordinator, said it had long been a desire of hers to show the history of gaming as video games are such a big part of modern life.
"I could never quite figure out how to justify it as part of the museum. But then Te Papa did something similar [the Game Masters exhibition] so I knew it could work," she said.
On display over the holidays are two arcade cabinets - which don't require a coin to operate - with a range of classic games like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Space Invaders which museum visitors can play.
Also set up around the room are different home consoles, from the Sega Mega Drive of 1988 to 2001's Nintendo Gamecube, each with signature games to play.
Mrs Follett said each platform represented different stages in the development of video game consoles which led to the high definition Xbox 360s and Playstation 3s which are found in homes around NZ today.
Another part of the exhibition was tabletop wargaming, where players use model armies on detailed battlefield terrains.
Mrs Follett said there was also a quiz for visitors about the history of gaming and the winner would win a game console package.
The Retro Gaming exhibition is on at the Whanganui Regional Museum until May 4 between 10am and 12pm and 1pm to 4.30pm every day except Sundays, and admission is $1 for unlimited visits.
Demonstrations of wargaming will be held at the museum at noon on April 27 and 28.