“Come with me and you’ll be
In a world of pure imagination
Take a look and you’ll see
Into your imagination”
These are the lyrics from Pure Imagination used in the famous Sci-Fi movie Ready Player One and as it says in the movie, the gaming world is such a unique space “where the only limit is your own imagination.”
In LVLup!, the owner Andrejs expressed all his excitement and passion about gaming when introducing his museum to me. The video game museum is full of retro consoles and all the interactable gaming elements. However, it would be quite wrong if it’s just reckoned as a place only for homeboys. On the contrary, the place well combines all the concepts of art, history and culture in a non-traditional sense. Here you can also find yourself astonished by the industrial designing and an absolutely environment-friendly vibe. Except for immersing in a game world, you can always take a break in the upper showroom where there are art exhibitions mostly from EKA students. There’s also a music corner near the coffee table where you can find vinyl records of all genres.
Located in an old factory site, the museum is surrounded by lots of artists’ workshops thus there is a mixed and vibrant environment bringing it more attractions. Another owner, a French artist Camille, also corporates lots of paintings and installations in the area. These art pieces are set in such a subtle way that it’s easy to neglect details if you are not paying attention to the green plants on the ground or observing the space layout from different angles. Even the wooden stairs were polished manually by Andrejs and the whole space was renovated by them from scratch. It’s also a museum built on public contribution and cooperation since many collections are from anonymous donations or sold at a very low price just for support. The consoles and video games are from all over the world and the same love would keep bonding people together.
The name LVLup! indicates the idea of players progressing in gaming battles and the logo color red corresponds to the power socket when you plug in. It can be seen everywhere in the museum and it emphasizes the idea from the owners to create a modern gamification world and unite all the enthusiasts as well as youngsters born in the ’00s. It also provides a relaxing location for families and friends to enjoy intimate moments or simply chill on a weekend afternoon.
“People come for all the things they can do but they stay because of all the things they can be. This isn’t just a game”, quoting from Ready Player One, but this sentence perfectly explains why so many people are willing to visit LVLup! and spend their time in this gaming world. Because for them, for us, it’s more than just a playground, it’s also reminiscence, childhood memory and the love of your life.
The first interactive video game museum in Baltic states opened its doors on the 2nd of September, 2018. The museum introduces the visitors the extensive world and history of video games. LVLup! is located in Tallinn, Pärnu mnt 154, in the building of ARS Art Factory. In LVLup! Museum, visitors can play the games on display 6 days a week. There is also a gallery of temporary exhibitions and a retro shop in the museum. The museum also hosts events and school visits.
Photos: Ruxin Wang