MUSCLE memory kicked in as experienced gamers got to grips with retro controllers while playing consoles from the past.
Blocky 8-bit graphics and 2D worlds were a welcome blast from the past as enthusiasts took on the linear levels that never really got old.
Dozens of consoles were on show, from the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey, to the late-1970s Prinztronic Tournament 10 and the better-known 1994 Sony PlayStation.
Packed into a small room and tucked away at the top of the Portsmouth City Museum for the next six months, 128 consoles are on show for the Future of the Past exhibition.
Held in the room that usually showcases the Football in the City exhibit, the TV screens lining the walls were turned over to games.
All of the consoles on show – eight of them playable – are from Steve Lowe’s collection.
He runs Game Over, in High Street, Old Portsmouth, which is the city’s only retro gaming cafe.
Today Katie Perrin, 29, was with her boyfriend Andrew Foster, 35, from Emsworth, playing Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation.
She said: ‘I wouldn’t have come if it hadn’t have been for Andrew.
‘This Crash Bandicoot game I used to play round my friend’s at primary school and I’ve picked it up now.
‘It’s amazing how my muscle memory remembers it today.
‘I’m having a trip down memory lane.’
Andrew added: ‘It’s really cool Steve’s managed to collect this history.
‘It’s good that someone has done it.’
The exhibit spans more than 40 years of consoles, from 1972 to 2014.
Paul Summers, 62, of North End, was with granddaughters Hannah Holloway, 11, and Bethany Holloway, nine.
He was able to work the Binatone console to play Pong – just as he used to with the girls’ father.
Paul said: ‘We had it back in the eighties.
‘We went through all of the games consoles.
‘It’s brilliant – when I said to the grandchildren they said they wanted to come along and came up her straight away.’
Young Hannah tried a few of the old consoles but admitted: ‘I don’t have the patience to do it.’
Steve launched the Game Over cafe in October last year.
He hopes to tour the exhibit if successful this summer.
He said: ‘It’s nice to see people come out and show interest.’
‘It was a bit of a task getting the consoles here – this isn’t everything.’
Steve wants volunteers to put in at least one four-hour shift a week between 10am and 5pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org