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“Play with any computer you like!”

The Centre for Computing History
Ranked #12 of 168 things to do in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Reviewed 6 March 2014

My wife and I visited the Centre for Computing History last week. Just as we were arriving, a school was leaving, so we had the place to ourselves. Although it's not a huge place, the fact that you can interact with everything makes it last 10x longer than a typical museum. It also means that it's decent value for money.

The staff were friendly and knowledgeable, giving us a good talk near the beginning. It seems that there is more of a focus on the gaming side of computers, which was perfect for us, but others might not be so interested in this aspect. That's not to say that there aren't other things, for example old tape readers.

One aspect I'd like to see covered a bit more is the history of Windows PCs. While the game consoles ran through the 80s to early 00s, the 'PC' side of things seemed to stop in the late 80s. It would be good to see early Windows, 3.1, 95 and so on. It might be that there is usually more on this, but we were visiting the day before Sir Clive Sinclair visited, so the smallest room wasn't in its usual configuration.

It was really great to be able to play games from my childhood, from before, and even all the weird consoles like CD-I and Atari Jaguar which hardly anyone ever got a chance to try.

If you get cold easily, I'd recommend taking a jacket as the largest room was pretty cool. We didn't mind as we'd prefer they keep the prices lower rather than getting a massive heating bill - I imagine it costs a lot already for electricity, running ~100 monitors and devices.

We hope to visit again in a few months, and hope the centre continues its good work.

Thank Cosmic_Colin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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314 - 318 of 407 reviews

Reviewed 4 March 2014

Great fun for young and not so young. Lots of games to play and knowledge to be gained. Friendly staff and volunteers this museum is a must see if you're anywhere near the area. Value for money and it's easy to spend most of the day just wondering, watching, playing and learning.

Thank Andy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2014

Many museums have some of these old computers and game consoles on display, but this place is unique because the machines are all plugged in and working - ready for visitors to have a go and play with original machines they might have had 20, 30 or more years ago. It seems that they have them all: Space invaders and Pac Man on Atari, Original Pong, all Nintendo and Sony consoles, first generation Macintoshes, Sinclairs - computers, gadgets, even the Sinclair electric car - the list is long. We (dad and three children aged 14, 12 and 8) spent the whole day there, and had a great time.
To kick of the day we started with an introduction to programming workshop. Every participant sat in front of an original working BBC Micro station. Within one hour, the children were typing in code for a simple Basic game (guess a random number chosen by the computer) and were able to play around and change it by themselves - just as I did with my Sinclair ZX81 over 30 years ago - a fantastic way to give children a taste of what coding is.
Staff are very friendly and helpful. It is clear they love what they do. We were encouraged to try everything, and were told not to worry about breaking anything, because they just love to get their hand in and fix things - not what you are used to in a museum.
Hurry up and go while the place is new and no one knows about it - very quiet and no queuing for the machines.

1  Thank dorigot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2014

A hallowed hall of ancient computing with a big lab full of old beebs.
All the old computers and consoles are here from my youth that I could remember and many I'd forgotten about, most are set up to play classic games (or the friendly people running the Museum will find it for you if they've got it)
It's not a massive place, but the joy is in wallowing in the old computing nostalgia and immersing yourself in games and machines you'd long forgotten.

Would I go again? Definately! Still have to try and finish ghosts & goblins level 1!

Thank MrRobinL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2014

I took my 12 year old here on the off chance it might entertain him and entertain him it did. There are lots of 80's games to play and we sat in the little driving chairs playing sega mega drive laughing so hard we could barely control the cars. I fell in love with the old pacman game though! I now have it on our PS3. Great fun.

Thank fjg22cambridge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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