There is a small museum in Rochester, New York that we had to visit on a field trip one day. The name of this museum is “The Strong Museum of Play.” This is a museum centered on interactive exhibits mostly geared towards children, but some hold enough amusement for even young adults to enjoy. There were two kiosks in particular at this museum that stuck out to me.
The first thing one would spot if you were to climb up to the second floor is what would a appear to be a cannon. The cannon would be winded up by the person via a wheel on top of what would look like a deconstructed skateboard with multiple gears traveling upward in a glass box. When it get high enough, the board drops and then the cannon fires with a satisfying FLOP sound effect. It is simple to get behind and even more fun once you realize the payoff of this contraption. However, actually hitting the target it easier said than done because the cannonball has a drop off range which is difficult to figure out, and you have to wait a while while the cannon reloads before trying again making the point of trial and error harder to grasp. You aren’t given enough tries in a row to learn how top properly time the gunshot. While it is neat to see the gun reload in what appears to be a Rube Goldberg-esqe set of machinery, the charm wears off fast once you get into it and realize that reloading the gun takes too long.
Best way to make the experience better would simply be to just make the gun reload faster, or give you more shots before you have to reload if they like the reload process that much. Besides that, blasting the gun still has a satisfying punch to it.
The next kiosk that stuck out to me is the Giant NES controller playing Super Mario Bros. outside the arcade zone. Being a gamer who has an affinity for video games across all eras, I would enjoy such a thing. It’s essentially just a giant NES, it’s like they got the guy who invented giant chess to make a video game console. So there’s plenty of charm there, especially since the buttons actually work to a certain extent. However, it isn’t without it’s faults. For a start, the controls are very delayed on the game, you wouldn’t tell just by watching someone play or be looking at this text. You’d have to try it yourself to see how delayed it is. I’m not sure if it’s because of the emulation of the game, or because the controller’s signal travels very slowly. But the delayed controls to keep the exhibit from having a bigger wait line.
Which is a shame because it’s a Giant NES with a lot of charm behind it playing Mario Bros. And unlike most other games in the arcade, to try this out is free.
There are tons of other exhibits in this museum but these two are the ones I can remember very clearly and the ones I would really like to see improved the most. The cannon is satisfying to fire, gets the person involved, but the wait time is enough to mark the experience down because it pulls you out for too long. And the NES controller is too delayed to maintain the interest of the player once the charm of playing it on a giant controller wears off.