City of Tempe uses old school video games as free educational tool for families

Tempe Time Machine
Posted at 11:00 AM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 20:10:20-04

TEMPE, AZ — Everyone is a winner when the whole family gets together and plays.

The city of Tempe is sparking connection with a little competition, education, and nostalgia by their Tempe Time Machine program.

The program is usually done in-person every year at the Tempe History Museum. However, the Coronavirus pandemic pushed the staff to be innovative with their “Video Invader” themed virtual exhibit.

"I love Ms. Pac Man," exclaimed city of Tempe's Brenda Abney. "So, if there is a Pac Man game online, 'Move over, kids!' Because, I'm going to be doing it too!"

She explained to The Rebound Arizona how employees in the city were able to bring the old games back into our living rooms.

"People... when they think about video games, they just think about playing them," Abney said. "But part of our mission is education, so think about how they're made and what goes into creating a video game? What are things underling in those video games you may not have thought about before, like how are people being portrayed in those video games?"

The content lives online with some of those topics, crafts, and ways to physically play some classic games.

"It's very nostalgic," said city of Tempe's Melissa Quillard. "So, we're talking the original Super Mario Bros, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Pac Man... everything that we played as kids. So, it's actually a really awesome opportunity to connect with kids."

Quillard also said if video games are not your thing, they have been working to expand virtual options to keep everyone engaged.

"This is the new normal," Quillard said. "There is still a significant percentage of our residents that want an online, virtual option. So, all of our classes that we normally offer, there are virtual versions of those classes."

Some of those classes include fitness, dance, ceramics, guitar lessons, and many more. Some are free, while some include a fee for supplies and pay for the instructors.

As long as people are taking advantage of video games or other on-screen activities, the city said they will be working to keep the content coming.

"And we're thinking now that, why don't we continue once we do re-open,'" Abney said. "Why don't we continue to offer things both digitally and in-person because we reach a much greater audience that way."

To play some games and learn more about video game history, click here:

To see other Tempe Play virtual classes you can register for, click here: