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.
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 with sore fingers from mashing buttons and injured egos from too many lost battles.
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 illustrates changes in social and cultural history.
How do people use games, toys, and other playthings? It’s a question play scholars and historians must grapple with. A blanket, for instance, serves as a warm companion on a cold night, but it may also act as, among other things, a superhero’s cape or a princess’s gown.