The International Center for the History of Electronic Games® (ICHEG) at The Strong houses and interprets the largest and most comprehensive public collection of video games, other electronic games, and game-related historical materials in the United States and one of the largest in the world. ICHEG's holdings include more than 50,000 video games, other electronic games, game platforms, and related artifacts and publications, plus a growing array of archival materials. In addition to games and game platforms, the collection includes packaging, advertising, publications, personal and business papers, electronic game antecedents, literary and popular inspirations of electronic game imagery, electronic game inspired consumer products, and other associated artifacts and documents that represent or illustrate how the games have been conceived, developed, sold, and used and the impact they have on people's lives.
For purposes of management and description, the ICHEG collection is organized into several categories. Here are the major ones, along with some recent acquisitions.
The International Center for the History of Electronic Games continues to acquire a broad range of video games, other electronic games, and other materials related to and inspired by them. The most recent major acquisition is the Brøderbund Software, Inc. Collection, 1979-2002 donated by company founder Doug Carlston. The collection includes nearly 1,500 of the company’s games, other pieces of computer software, copies of original art, production masters, board game versions of some products, and related items. Also included are extensive corporate records detailing Brøderbund—one of the leading producers and distributors of games for the home computer—operations from its inception in 1979 to its eventual acquisition by The Learning Company. Another recent acquisition is the Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI) Collection, donated by company founder Joel Billings. The collection chronicles the history of SSI from 1979 to 1997 and includes master code for Computer Bismarck and a copy of the computer code for Tank (unpublished), the first game Billings ever wrote. Information about other computer companies of the period is present as well. Also recently added is the Gerald A. “Jerry” Lawson Collection, 1967-1994, which documents how pioneering African-American engineer Jerry Lawson helped revolutionize the video game industry through his design of the Fairchild Channel F, the first video game system to use interchangeable cartridges.
ICHEG's collection of arcade video games encompasses the most significant games ever manufactured—from Computer Space (1971) and Pong (1972) to Space Invaders (1978) and Pac-Man (1980) to Donkey Kong (1981) and Tetris (1988). The collection includes the first machines to use microprocessors, ROM chips, and 3-D graphics and extends forward to some of the latest specialty products being manufactured today. Learn more
The ICHEG collection of game systems includes the major home video game consoles manufactured in the United States since 1972 and a broad selection of consoles from other regions; dozens of personal computers, both desktop and portable; more than 200 different handheld electronic game systems; and hundreds of children’s toys that incorporate elements of electronic game play. Learn more
ICHEG's collections includes more than 20,000 video games for consoles—from Atari Space Invaders (1980) and NES Super Mario Bros. (1986, North American release) through Sega Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo (1998) to NintendoWii Sports (2006)—and more than 5,000 for personal computers—fromSimCity (1989) and Sid Meier's Civilization (1991) through Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (1998). Included are other notable titles such as Utopia (1981), M.U.L.E. (1983), Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty (1993), Doom (1993), and One-on-One (1993) and rarities such as NES Nintendo World Championships 1990. The Japanese titles include such rare games as Kunio-kun no Dodgeball da yo Zenin Shuugou! Tournament Special Gold Cartridge (translation: Mr. Kunio’s Dodgeball, Assemble Everyone! Tournament Special Gold Cartridge) and All Star Power League Gold HuCard—both special limited edition games that were given away as prizes for tournament winners. The collection includes more than 3,000 educational games. Learn more
The International Center for the History of Electronic Games holds tens of thousands of artifacts and library and archival items that represent and reflect the impact of particular manufacturers on the evolution of video games and society. ICHEG works with companies to help preserve those individual historical contributions. This category of ICHEG collections include large or otherwise distinct assemblages provided to ICHEG by specific manufacturers. These collections include either software or hardware, or both, or one or both in addition to archival items. Other materials related to these companies, but not provided by them, may be found in other ICHEG collections categories according to type. Learn more
The library and archival collections of ICHEG consist of books, periodicals, strategy guides, trade catalogs, and other printed materials plus personal papers, design documents, business records, and other unpublished materials that document the history of video games and other electronic games and the ways in which they affect how people play, learn, and connect with each other. Included are papers and other materials from industry luminaries such as Ralph H. Baer, Dan Bunten (Dani Bunten Berry), Don Daglow, and Will Wright and important publications such as more than 10,000 individual gaming and computer magazines and copies of nearly every strategy guide published by Prima Games. Learn more
The ICHEG collection is the only assemblage of video games, other electronic games, and related materials anywhere that resides alongside and is illuminated and enhanced by a comprehensive collection of other play-related objects and an extensive research library and archives devoted specifically to play and related topics.