Honoring Gaming Innovator Eugene Jarvis

honoring-gaming-innovator-eugene-jarvis

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the 17th Annual D.I.C.E Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Each year, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences celebrates the best interactive games and with its Pioneer Award honors a person whose “career-spanning work has helped shape and define the interactive entertainment…

Collection Documents the Career of Video Game Pioneer Jerry Lawson

collection-documents-the-career-of-video-game-pioneer-jerry-lawson

Few of us think of the Fairchild Channel F (1976) when playing our new disc-based video game consoles. Fewer of us think of its creator, one of the first African American video game designers, Gerald “Jerry” Lawson (1940-2011). Nevertheless, the seeds for today’s systems were planted during the middle 1970s by Lawson and the team…

Wizardry, Dragon Quest, and the Japanese Role-Playing Video Game

wizardry-dragon-quest-and-the-japanese-role-playing-video-game

Video game historians hoping to trace the intellectual and cultural influences of some games may find themselves crossing oceans to do so. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Japanese video games spread to North America and across the globe, exporting Japanese culture and energizing the slumping home console industry. ICHEG’s recent acquisition of a collection of nearly…

Video Games and the Wonders of Window Shopping

video-games-and-the-wonders-of-window-shopping

Childhood trips to a local Kmart always meant two things: my mother searching for “blue light specials” and the chance to slip away to see and play new video games in an environment awash in electronic sights and sounds. What I didn’t realize then was that all those video game packages, aisles of shelves, elaborate…

Wreck-It Ralph and Video Game Villainy

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The Strong recently acquired a custom-built Fix-It Felix Jr. arcade video game at the center of Disney Animation Studios’ 2012 film Wreck-It Ralph. This summer, visitors to The Strong’s Boardwalk Arcade exhibit have the opportunity to play this rare game. Fix-It Felix Jr. allows players to take on the role of the game’s hero, Felix,…

Gauntlet by Design: Creating the Four-Player-at-Once Arcade Game Experience

gauntlet-by-design-creating-the-four-player-at-once-arcade-game-experience

During the 1970s and 1980s, Atari programmers and designers crafted hundreds of new video game play experiences for millions of people. This summer The Strong will open Atari by Design, a temporary exhibit (June 22 – September 8, 2013) that features one-of-a kind concept art and design documents and explores the designs behind some of…

Coin-Op Century: A Brief History of the American Arcade

coin-op-century-a-brief-history-of-the-american-arcade

For those of us who grew up during the so-called “golden age” of arcade games (late 1970s through the middle 1980s), the word “arcade” conjures up images of carpeted walls, smoke-filled rooms, black lights, and row after row of brightly colored video game cabinets. For some, the thought of these spaces evoke such vivid memories…

Assembling The Avengers: From Comic Book to Pinball Machine

assembling-the-avengers-from-comic-book-to-pinball-machine

When George Gomez, Vice President of Game Development for Stern Pinball, found out he’d be designing The Avengers (2013) pinball machine, he was truly excited. The 2012 film of the same name was a box office juggernaut, grossing more than $600 million domestically. Tasked with designing the game, Gomez spent a weekend traveling back in…

Warrior and the Video Arcade Fighting Game

warrior-and-the-video-arcade-fighting-game

On a recent stroll through the arcade in The Strong’s eGameRevolution exhibit, I recalled a favorite childhood memory of my hometown arcade. During the early to middle 1990s, even as arcades declined, young gamers like me hurried to our local arcades after school to pick fights. No, these weren’t real fights, but some players left…

Selling Electronic Play in Video Game Television Commercials

selling-electronic-play-in-video-game-television-commercials

A few years ago, I asked my students in an American cultural history course to identify logos and slogans from their lifetime. Not surprisingly, since advertising bombards us through print, radio, television, and the Internet, the students did this easily (try this Logo Quiz game for yourself). After this exercise, the class discussed how advertising…