Open accessibilty tools

Binatone video game console (About 1980)

The Playstation 2 is the best-selling games console of all time.

Talking about old toys

Use the questions below to talk with children about old video games and consoles. Talk about the image here, or use the questions to explore an old game or console you or the children may have brought in to your classroom or setting.

Try turning it into a game. Look at the video game console for one minute and then take it away or close your eyes. How many details can you remember? Look again:

  • What did you remember?
  • What did you forget?
  • What else can you see this time?
  • This is an old Binatone video game.
  • This was one of the first video games consoles that people could buy to play with at home.

  • Old games were very simple. This one is based on one of the first ever video games called ‘pong’. It is also based on different sports like tennis and football.
  • You move your player (which is really just a white line on the screen) up and down, to hit or kick the ‘ball’ (which is really just a white spot).

  • We can see the main console. It plugs into the TV.
  • There are switches and buttons to:
    • turn it on and off
    • -control the volume
    • -choose which game to play
    • -make the game easier or more difficult, by making the ball move slower or faster
    • -decide whether your game will be one-player or two-player.
  • There are two controllers. You use these to move your player up and down.
  • There is a speaker, where the sounds and music for the games comes from.
  • Your grannies and grandads might have played with this toy when they were children.
  • You can see a picture of a family playing the game on the front of the box.
  • These games would have been quite expensive.
  • What makes this a video game?
  • How is it different to other types of games – like board games, football or dressing up games?


Compare and contrast

What different games consoles can children think of?

Can they find images of them online?

They can choose one to compare and contrast with the Binatone console.

How are they the same and how are they different?

Think about: how they are powered, how they are controlled, the games you can play, what they look and sound like.

Make a class list to show how video games have changed since they were first made for playing at home.

Video game sounds

Find a simple old video game online. There are some examples in the ‘Links’ section below, like Pong, Pacman, Chuckie Egg and Tetris.

Children can use their voices and instruments to create a particular sound for different elements of play.

  • What sound might the Pacman character make as it moves along?
  • What sound might a Tetris block make when it lands? Do different shaped blocks make different sounds?
  • What sound might they make for ‘Game over’?
  • Can children play along ‘live’ to a game video with the sound turned down?


  • Click on the ‘Playing in the past’ tab to find old pictures of children playing with toys and games.
  • Milestones in the history of gaming: BBC bitesize
  • Pong game play video
  • Pacman game play video
  • Chuckie Egg game play video
  • Tetris game play video