Preserving the First Video Game Merchandising Display Unit

Preserving the First Video Game Merchandising Display Unit

Reading reports about some retail store closings, it’s hard to ignore that many of us often prefer shopping online with millions of products at our fingertips to navigating a shopping cart through the aisles of our local retailers. As a historian with an interest in consumer culture and as someone who spent countless hours of my childhood playing the latest Nintendo Entertainment System games on a demonstration kiosk at our local K-Mart, it’s difficult to image a world without the striking visual displays and merchandising that have played such an important role in selling products in retail settings.

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Preserving Carol Shaw’s Trailblazing Video Game Career

Preserving Carol Shaw’s Trailblazing Video Game Career

Carol Shaw, the first widely recognized female game designer and programmer, has donated to The Strong a collection of console games, printed source code, design documents, sketches, reference materials, and promotional objects representing games she created for Atari, Inc. and Activision in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Shaw is most recognized for her best-selling…

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Playing the “Good War”

Playing the "Good War"

The recent decision by the producers of Call of Duty:WWII to return the game’s setting to World War II—after a detour into modern warfare and futuristic science fiction—reflects not only the franchise’s success with this period but also the fact that no other war has so captured the imagination of playmakers and players.

Chris Kohler Fanzine Collection Documents Video Game Culture

Chris Kohler Fanzine Collection Documents Video Game Culture

In addition to collecting video and other electronic games and materials that document how these games are made and sold, the staff at The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) is also interested in preserving evidence of player culture. Author Chris Kohler recently donated a wonderful collection of more than 350 fanzine…

Would Girls Like It? Why Atari’s Market Testing Failed to Produce a Female Audience

Video games have a common—and increasingly outdated—image of appealing primarily to males. This misperception is perhaps due to the tendency of the media to focus on the “triple A” market—high-budget games, produced by established game corporations, that highlight violence and sex to appeal to a straight, male audience. At least one company, however, was aware…

Scott Adams Adventure International Collection Documents Early Commercial Computer Gaming

Scott Adams Adventure International Collection Documents Early Commercial Computer Gaming

Scott Adams, co-founder of Adventure International and pioneering commercial computer game designer, has donated to The Strong a collection of more than 130 original games created by him and his company, printed source code, product catalogs, advertising flyers, photographs, comic books, magazines, and other materials that trace Adams and his company’s trailblazing efforts in the…

A Genealogy of Fantasy Play (with a Special Nod to Iceland)

A Genealogy of Fantasy Play (with a Special Nod to Iceland)

Today, fantasy role-playing video games—in which players assume the role of heroes wielding swords, casting spells, riding dragons, and battling monsters—are among the most popular and influential of games. Yet if we consider the examples found in The Strong’s trove of 19th-century board games, we see that games with such themes are quite rare. Other…

The Strong Launches Women in Games Initiative

The Strong Launches Women in Games Initiative

For many decades, women have played key roles in the design, production, manufacture, marketing, and writing of video games, and yet their history in the gaming industry is too little preserved and too often underappreciated. The Strong’s Women in Games initiative will document and celebrate these crucial contributions through a concerted effort to collect, preserve,…

Following The Bouncing Ball: Tennis for Two…at The Strong!

Following The Bouncing Ball: Tennis for Two...at The Strong!

On October 18, 1958, a curious object appeared at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) during its annual Visitor’s Day. Unlike the static (mainly photo and text) displays arranged to showcase projects from BNL’s different lab divisions, this unnamed object from the Instrumentation Division consisted of a 5½ inch DuMont cathode ray tube X-Y graphic oscilloscope connected…

Preserving Video Game History with the Brian Fargo Papers, 1983-2012

Preserving Video Game History with the Brian Fargo Papers, 1983-2012

The Strong launched the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) in 2009 because we believed video games were too popular, too creative, and too influential for their history to be lost. Since then, many key industry leaders have aided our preservation efforts by donating to The Strong personal materials that document their…