As the Olympic Games conclude, I can’t help but remember my years as a star athlete . . . just kidding. People who condition their bodies and minds for extreme competition will forever surpass my skill and understanding. However, I appreciate their urge to better themselves through feats of athleticism. And I, like many of my fellow non-Olympians, strive for personal improvement in my own way.
One-hit wonders. You know them well—the artists whose catchy lyrics and infectious tunes earn them a fleeting moment of mega fame before they plunge back into obscurity. Even so, songs like “Come on Eileen” and “Ice Ice Baby” will live on forever, immortalized in VH1 countdowns and karaoke archives.
Some folks have reported visions of sugarplums recently—I’ve worked so closely with museum artifacts that I’m hearing their voices. Call me the Toy Whisperer or just plain loopy, but I listen when the museum’s toys and games talk about their New Year’s resolutions. The artifacts have some ambitious goals for 2012, but this doesn’t surprise me at all—they were busy last year, too.
Here’s a little story about the difference between transportation and “being transported” while at play. Cooking up the story requires three ingredients, Mario Kart (the video game), your memory of the first Star Wars film, and a bicycle.
If you grew up with siblings, you probably recognize that a brother or sister doesn’t always make the first choice for playmate but will usually suffice. As the youngest of three children by five years, I yearned to play along with my older brothers but could never quite keep up. Both seemed more knowledgeable, more agile, and more talented when it came to play. My oldest brother constructed amazing snow igloos and drove a snowmobile. My middle brother excelled at video games and fort building. I envied them both, until one miraculous day, when the tables finally turned.
In 2010, The Strong received a sizable and generous donation from Prima Games, one of the leading strategy guide publishers in the electronic games industry. The gift consisted of more than a thousand strategy guides for both PC and console video games from 1990 to 2009. Following an eight-month cataloging project, all 1,264 game guides can now be found in the Brian Sutton-Smith Library & Archives of Play’s online catalog.