30 July, 2010

The National Media Museum Breaks a World Record

On Wednesday we broke the World Record for the number of people playing Nintendo DS games simultaneously in the same place for 10 minutes. The record was previously held by the MCM Expo in London with 586 DS players. We beat their record with an impressive 659 gamers. Here's the video to prove it.

We opened the doors for registration at 10.00 and saw hundreds of people flock to the Museum throughout the day to enjoy a barbeque, have their face painted, try their hand at big screen gaming in our cinema, join in with family events, and watch Toy Story 3D in our IMAX theatre. But most importantly, they were there to sign up for the World Record attempt that evening.

We were joined by Real Radio who pumped out the latest chart hits from the balcony above the Media Wall. Presenter Dixie was our compère for the day, and he did a grand job of rallying up the crowd and telling them where to go and when to be there.

Super Mario himself arrived at around 15.00 to the delight of all the kids who converged upon the Nintendo icon for hugs and photographs as soon as they caught sight of him.

We also welcomed some of the Bradford Bulls and local PCSOs to help us supervise the event, Bulls' Chief Executive Ryan Ducket and gaming guru Charles Cecil who were official invigilators, and Gaz Deaves, Gaming Editor of Guinness World Records, who was there to make sure everything was above board, and of course, to present us with our certificate when we claimed victory.

It was fantastic to see so many people come down to the Museum to be part of the attempt - so many that they spilled out to the front of the building - but that's not to say it was easy to pull together. Our event coordinators Kat Martin, Elaine Richmond and Sophie Choudry certainly had one or two sleepless nights in the run up to the event, but I daresay they would agree that it was all worth it in the end.

Sarah Mumford, Learning Manager, who originally conceived the idea describes the moment of truth:

"The atmosphere was electric and the excitement was palpable. We didn’t know 'til immediately after the attempt whether we had broken the record or not and when the man from Guinness announced we had broken it everyone cheered. And what a relief that was!"

I was stood in the crowd when Gaz announced that we had broken the record, and it certainly was exciting - I don't know what we would have done had we not taken the record, but no doubt everyone would have held their consoles in the air to celebrate a good try.

When it was all over, the proud participants collected a badge and certificate, but some remained for the Street Fighter 2 tournament in our Games Lounge. I had escaped back to the office to upload my photographs so I missed it, but I asked organiser Foz Bano for a quick report:

"The [tournament] went really well with 32 players competing and Tom (Woolley - New Media Curator) got Mario to join in! It was a tightly fought contest and over the course of an hour 31 games were played. All ages got involved and Gaz Deaves from Guinness got through to the semi final but was beaten by Dhaood who went on to win."

Congratulations, Dhaood - and well done to everyone who came down on the day to support or take part in the World Record attem... no, VICTORY!

If you want to see Tom's video of Mario playing in the Street Fighter 2 tournament, I've selected it as a favourite on our YouTube channel.

Photographs from the day can be found on our Flickr channel, and you can upload your photographs to our DS World Record Breakers group.

Don't forget to check out our programme of Summer Fun, and if you would like to receive news about events, films and the latest IMAX blockbusters, sign up to our e-newsletter online.

06 July, 2010

Leslie Grantham Visits the EastEnders25 Display in TV Heaven

Leslie Grantham, most famous for playing Dirty Den in EastEnders, is currently starring as Pte. Walker in Dad's Army at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford. He took a break between rehearsals and performing to visit the National Media Museum today.

We invited Leslie to view our EastEnders25 display in TV Heaven, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of one of Britain's best-loved television programmes, and is part of our year-long Soap Season, dedicated to examining the impact, popularity and longevity of British soap opera.

Looking casual, Leslie arrived in the TV Heaven gallery accompanied by Claire Thomas, Assistant Curator of Television. The Museum's Photographer, Media Developers and I ran around with cameras while Leslie chatted to Claire about the EastEnders props on display.

The opportunity to photograph Leslie on the 'bench of tears', holding the dog doorstop which killed Dirty Den, or sitting next to Den's gravestone, was too good to miss. We were joined by a photographer from the Telegraph & Argus and a reporter from Pulse Radio.

View some of the photographs taken on the National Media Museum's Flickr channel.

Soap Season began in February with the launch of the EastEnders25 display, and is set to continue throughout the summer months with an exciting programme of events and activities.

For more information, please visit Soap Season on our website.

As part of our summer programme for families, this coming weekend (10 - 11 July) and next month (9 - 15 August) we will be hosting some special events to tie in with our soap celebration.

Highlights include Soap Comes to Life in which you can help us produce a scene from EastEnders, Animated Soaps Workshop in which you can use stop-motion techniques to create an animated soap scene, Create a Soap Soundtrack, and the chance to test your knowledge in our Super Soap Quiz.

For more information about family friendly activities at the National Media Museum, please visit our Family Events page.