Installing Ralph Baer’s Desk at The Strong

Installing Ralph Baer's Desk at The Strong

Baer Desk 1 - behind glassMuseums have long memorialized genius. While art museums preserve great paintings and sculptures, history museums collect and preserve a wide-ranging record of the ways individuals, groups, and companies have shaped our society. The Strong’s focus on the history and meaning of play has guided its efforts to preserve a comprehensive collection of artifacts that document the rich history of toys, dolls, games, puzzles, electronic games, and other playthings. Among these collections are those donated by Ralph Baer, who over the course of his life transformed the way people play. That’s why The Strong is pleased to have installed a display of Ralph’s desk and work area from his Florida home, where he did much of his inventing.

The 2016 Class for the World Video Game Hall of Fame

The 2016 Class for the World Video Game Hall of Fame

Anyone interested in the evolution of video games can learn a great deal by simply examining the history of the six newest inductees into The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame: The Oregon Trail, Space Invaders, The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Sims, and Grand Theft Auto III.

Light Up the Night with Mega Man Rock

Light Up the Night with Mega Man Rock

I have a confession to make. It’s kind of embarrassing, but I’m hoping readers will understand. I’m 34 years old, and just recently, I attended my first rock concert. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering my profession, this concert consisted of a hard rock opera based on the 1980s video game series Mega Man.

The Global Scope of the World Video Game Hall of Fame

The Global Scope of the World Video Game Hall of Fame

Genius knows no boundaries. That’s the inescapable conclusion I reach when I look at the 2016 finalists for The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame. The nominated games are equally distributed across three continents (Asia, Europe, and North America) and reflect how the video game industry has developed around the world and how the…

Living Books Donation Documents the Heyday of CD-ROM

Living Books Donation Documents the Heyday of CD-ROM

In the early 1990s, CD-ROMs promised consumers a dramatic leap forward in the capabilities of computers to provide immersive experiences. For example, the puzzle adventure game Myst used the new technology to plunge players into a mysterious, hypnotic world of exploration that provided enchanting graphics and mesmerizing music; Roberta Williams used the discs’ larger storage…

Pinball Matters

Pinball Matters

As I stood outside The Strong’s new permanent Pinball Playfields exhibit, I couldn’t help but see and overhear our guests’ reactions to the flashing lights and distinct pops and thumps of the pinball machines. “Pinball! Yes!” I heard someone cheer. Another guest who noticed I worked at the museum stopped to tell me, “You’ve made…

New Display Highlights the Worldwide Reach of Tetris

New Display Highlights the Worldwide Reach of Tetris

The Strong launched the World Video Game Hall of Fame in 2015 to recognize individual electronic games of all types—arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile—that achieved iconic-status, longevity, influence, and geographical reach. Of the six games chosen for the inaugural class of 2015, perhaps no game has journeyed the globe more than the simple puzzle game…

Atari Packaging Design Collection Documents the Art of Selling Video Games

Atari Packaging Design Collection Documents the Art of Selling Video Games

The Strong has acquired a collection of more than 2,000 drawings, photographs, mock-ups, proofs, and other materials related to the design and production of Atari home and handheld game packaging and user manuals from 1976–1984. The Cort and Barbara Allen Atari Packaging Design Collection, 1976–1984, documents how the company’s artists, designers, and writers developed and…

ICHEG, the RPO, and Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy

ICHEG, the RPO, and Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy

As a child, I always enjoyed playing video games, but I never paid too much attention to the musical accompaniment in the background. It wasn’t until college that I first heard gaming music on its own. Prior to that, I simply enjoyed the music as background noise for games, or as musical cues that prompted…

The Williams Pinball Playfield Design Collection

The Williams Pinball Playfield Design Collection

Pioneering Chicago-based gaming company Williams Electronics Games, Inc. donated the Williams Pinball Playfield Design Collection, 1946–1995 to The Strong. The collection consists of more than 200 original drawings of playfields (the pinball machines’ surface where the ball rolls) layouts (with a nearly complete set of sketches from 1947 to 1971), hundreds of mechanical drawings of…