International Center for the History of Electronic Games

The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games® (ICHEG) collects, studies, and interprets video games, other electronic games, and related materials and the ways in which electronic games are changing how people play, learn, and connect with each other, including across boundaries of culture and geography.

As a result of ICHEG’s efforts, The Strong’s collection of video games, other electronic games, and electronic game-related historical materials is the largest and most comprehensive public assemblage in the United States and one of the largest in the world. At 55,000 items and growing, the collection includes games and the platforms on which they are played, game packaging and advertising, game-related publications, game-inspired consumer products and other items that illustrate the impact of electronic games on people’s lives, and personal and business papers of key individuals and companies in the electronic game industry.Computer space

Beyond collecting and preserving such materials, ICHEG develops exhibits, produces a blog and e-newsletter, conducts and encourages research and writing about the historical and cultural significance of video games and other electronic games, maintains a timeline of key moments in video game history, and presents at video game and play-related conferences. Through all of these activities and more, ICHEG seeks to ensure that present and future generations can explore the history of electronic games, understand how they began and evolved, appreciate who played what roles in that evolution, and grasp the impact that electronic games have on society.

Key Software, Hardware, and Company Collections

The Strong’s collections encompass the most important arcade video games of all time; examples of every major video game platform manufactured in the United States since 1972 and a broad selection of consoles from other countries; more than 20,000 video games for consoles and more than 7,000 for personal computers; examples of all significant handheld-game systems; more than 3,000 children’s electronic educational games and software titles; an extensive collection of children’s toys, such as Simon, Tamagotchi, and Webkinz, that combine digital and traditional play; and much more.

Arcade Game Collections

  • Early Arcade Video Games, 1971–1978
  • Early Pin Games and Electromechanical Pinball Machines, 1931–1976
  • Golden Age Arcade Video Games, 1978–1985
  • Solid State Pinball Machines, 1976–Present
  • Vector-Based Graphic Games, 1977–1985
  • Simulator Games, 1985–Present
  • Specialty Games, 1991–Present

Gaming System (Hardware) Collection

  • Consoles, 1972–Present
  • Handhelds, 1976–Present
  • Personal Computers, 1979–Present
  • Children’s Electronic Toys, 1976–Present

Game (Software) Collections

  • Console Games, 1972–Present
  • Computer Games, 1978–Present
  • Educational Games, 1978–Present

Video Game Company Collections

  • Atari Coin-Op Divisions Collection, 1972–1999
  • Brøderbund Software, Inc. Collection, 1979–2002
  • Her Interactive Collection, 1994–2012
  • Microsoft Collection, 1993–2011
  • Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI) Collection, 1979–2001
  • Tengen, Inc. Collection, 1987–1994
  • Westwood Studios Collection, 1985–2003

Key Holdings of Publications and Personal Papers

In keeping with ICHEG’s interest in the broad cultural history of electronic games, The Strong’s electronic game and related collections encompass not only games and game platforms, but also a wide variety of other materials such as packaging, advertising, publications, electronic game inspired consumer products, literary and popular inspirations of video game imagery, personal and business papers, and other associated artifacts and documents that represent or illustrate the design and development of video games and other electronic games and their impact on people’s lives.

  • Atari Arcade Design Collection, 1973–1991
  • Ralph H. Baer Papers, 1968–2010
  • Dan Bunten (Dani Bunten Berry) Papers, 1949–1998
  • Books and Periodicals
  • Computer Gaming World Collection, 1982–2000s
  • Don Daglow Papers, 1977–2010
  • Kevin Gifford Video Game Magazine Collection, 1970s–Present
  • Gerald A. “Jerry” Lawson Collection, 1967–1994
  • Jordan Mechner Collection, 1913–2014
  • Prima Games Collection, 1990–Present
  • Trade Catalogs
  • Ken and Roberta Williams Collection, 1979–1996
  • Will Wright Papers, 1989–2010

Access to the Collections

Many artifacts from The Strong’s electronic and video game collections are on public view, including classic arcade games, the latest video game consoles, game prototypes, handwritten papers and sketches from electronic game inventors, and more in eGameRevolution®, an expansive, artifact-rich museum exhibit, produced by ICHEG, that explores the history and impact of electronic games. Additionally, tens-of-thousands of items are accessible online through The Strong’s collections catalog

On-site access to non-public collections spaces is available to scholars, students, collectors, and other researchers by appointment. Appointments may be made via an online form, or by sending an email to jpdyson@museumofplay.org. Please provide a topic of research, indicate the materials desired, and any special needs.

Research Fellowships

To promote and advance play scholarship, The Strong invites academic professionals, independent scholars, museum scholars, and advanced graduate students at the Masters or PhD level to apply for research fellowships. Fellowships provide financial support for scholarly play research conducted on site at The Strong in Rochester, New York, for periods of study ranging from one week to three months.

Donate to the Collections

The Strong is actively seeking and acquiring additional examples of games, game platforms, handheld-game systems, children’s electronic educational games and software titles, toys that combine digital and traditional play, and supporting materials of all types, including other game-inspired consumer products, packaging, advertising, historical records, and business and personal papers related to the design and production of electronic games and their use. Queries from individuals and organizations that have important electronic games and related materials that merit a permanent home where they can help inform future generations are welcome.

To inquire about donating games, platforms, or other materials, contact:

Jon-Paul C. Dyson, Director, International Center for the History of Electronic Games
jpdyson@museumofplay.org
+1 585-410-6341