Game (Software) Collections

The collections of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games® (ICHEG) include more than 35,000 games on various media.

Console Games, 1972–present

ICHEG has than more than 20,000 video games for consoles, starting with hundreds for early systems like Magnavox Odyssey (1972), Fairchild Channel F (1976), and Atari 2600 (1977) and extending through all the major consoles and handhelds to the present day.The collection is notably strong in Japanese games, with complete or nearly complete collections of many Nintendo, SEGA, and NEC systems. Included are classic titles ranging 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), as well as rarer items 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.

Computer Games, 1978–present

Game play on computers has ranged from casual games like the Solitaire program that Microsoft introduced with Windows 3.0 in 1990 to massively multiplayer online role-playing games like the wildly popular World of Warcraft (2004). ICHEG holds some 5,000 computer games, ranging from those for early systems like the Apple II to games for contemporary PCs. The many pioneering titles in the collection include Microsoft Flight Simulator (1982),Sierra On-Line's edition of Ultima I (1983), Castle Wolfenstein (1983),  the multiplayer game M.U.L.E. (1983), the simulation games Utopia (1981) and SimCity (1989), and the turn-based strategy game Sid Meier’s Civilization (1991). Sports titles such as the first John Madden Football (1982), action titles such as Bungie’s Marathon (1994), and adventure titles such as Ken and Roberta Williams’s Mystery House (1980) and Sid Meier’s Pirates (1987) are also included. Controversial horror games such as Night Trap (1994) round out the breadth of the collection. More than 1,000 are games received over the years by Computer Gaming World for review in the magazine.

Educational Games, 1978-present

Educational games stand among the first computer games created for the general public, starting with Oregon Trail in 1971. Generally, educational games have been confined to the personal computer market because console makers have feared that “educational” titles would dampen sales. Educational software peaked in the 1990s, and today many educational games are web based. ICHEG’s collection encompasses titles from, among other producers, The Learning Company, Broderbund, Knowledge Adventure, and Minnesota Educational Computer Curriculum (MECC). Included are Oregon Trail, other classics such as Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego (1985), Reader Rabbit (1986), Jumpstart (1994), and more than 3,000 others. Among these are thousands of review titles donated by Children’s Technology Review Editor Warren Buckleitner.

See also “Four Decades on the Oregon Trail.”