The Strong News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700

January 9, 2018

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365,

Noelle McElrath-Hart, 585-410-6325,

Historians Must Better Document Women’s Influence
on Video Games According to Special Themed Issue
of the
American Journal of Play

ROCHESTER, NY—History is rife with examples of women being pushed aside, ignored, or forgotten for their roles in creating social change and shaping daily life. According to the latest issue of The Strong’s American Journal of Play, historians studying video game history have an opportunity to avoid these mistakes of their scholarly predecessors and to capture the full scope of women’s influence on the industry. The special themed issue, guest edited by Jon-Paul C. Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games in Rochester, New York, includes interviews and articles that challenge previous and current approaches to documenting video game history.

In the article “Ronnie, Millie, Lila—Women’s History for Games,” Carly Kocurek, associate professor of digital humanities and media studies at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois, argues that video game history should not be reduced to a highlights reel of a few key players. She writes, “In researching and writing the history of video games, we have an opportunity to produce a comprehensive history—one that looks at all actors as meaningful rather than documenting merely the most obvious key players.”

Kocurek explores the lives and careers of three often-overlooked women—game regulation activist Ronnie Lamm, coin-op business owner Amelia “Millie” McCarthy, and Exidy executive Lila Zinter. She argues that these women have not been widely studied because they were not game creators, and yet each helped shape contemporary gaming and public discourse about games. Kocurek posits that historians must look beyond just game designers and studio founders (many of whom were men) to capture the depth and diversity of video games and game culture.

To tell a more complete picture, she challenges her peers to dig deeper into archives, pursue oral histories, and think more broadly about the impact of their work. Kocurek argues, “A proper history of video games cannot be a history constructed entirely of the most readily available record of the most visible historical actors.”

“In the emerging field of video game studies, we have opportunities to set a precedent for what this particular history will look like,” Kocurek writes. “We must work toward practices that… (do) not obscure the work of key players. We must do this because to do otherwise, and to call ourselves historians, would be a professional failing of the highest order.”

Additional articles in Vol. 10, No. 1 of the American Journal of Play include:

“Let’s Begin Again: Sierra On-Line and the ‘Origins’ of the Graphic Adventure Game,” by Laine Nooney, assistant professor at New York University. The author explores the origin story of game company Sierra On-Line and argues that it’s too simplistic to paint early computer game history as a competition between the graphic adventures of Sierra On-Line and the text-based games of companies like Infocom. She argues for a more nuanced approach to studying early video game companies.

 “Teaching Us to Fear: The Violent Video Game Moral Panic and the Politics of Game Research,” by Patrick M. Markey, professor at Villanova University, and Christopher J. Ferguson, associate professor at Stetson University. The authors defend video games against the myth that playing games can lead to real-world violence and put these fears in context of other “moral panics” (or widespread public fears in response to a perceived societal threat) throughout history—such as those caused by novels and movies. Markey and Ferguson provide guidelines for identifying and understanding this historical phenomenon.  

 “New…Now? Or Why a Design History of Coin-Op Video Game Machines,” by Raiford Guins, professor at Indiana University. Guins examines design history and what it can offer to the study of video games, particularly Atari’s coin-op machines. He argues that design history’s intellectual trajectory opens scholars to new ways of thinking historically about video games.

The complete issue of the American Journal of Play can be accessed freely online at Printed editions are also available for subscription and single copy purchase.

About the American Journal of Play
The American Journal of Play is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary publication that serves as a forum for discussing the history, science, and culture of play. Published three times each year by The Strong museum in Rochester, New York, the Journal includes articles, interviews, and book reviews written for a broad readership that includes educators, psychologists, play therapists, sociologists, anthropologists, folklorists, historians, museum professionals, toy and game designers, policy makers, and others who consider play for a variety of reasons and from various perspectives.

The Strong News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700

February 14, 2018

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365,

Noelle McElrath-Hart, 585-410-6325,

Dinolfo: New Strong National Museum of Play Zones Cleared for Takeoff at ROC Airport​

Airport project will feature new interactive play zones modeled after The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame, World Video Game Hall of Fame; Free for the enjoyment of all ROC visitors

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo today announced that Monroe County is partnering with The Strong National Museum of Play to feature two new interactive play zones at the Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC). The exhibits, which will be installed as components of the County’s ongoing ROC Airport Revitalization project, will be free of cost to all who travel in and out of the airport.

“The Strong National Museum of Play is an anchor destination in our region, attracting more than 550,000 visitors annually from all 50 states who help to support local jobs and our economy,” said Dinolfo. “We are thrilled that as part of our ongoing ROC renovation project, we will be bringing the quintessential Strong experience to our airport for the enjoyment of all travelers who are young at heart. I thank Strong Museum President Dubnik for his support of this family-friendly, first-in-the-nation partnership that will help put our airport on the map.”

Through the partnership, The Strong National Museum of Play will design, construct, and maintain two playful, educational, and interactive play zones for airport travelers, one in each concourse, that focus on international brands unique to Rochester—The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame® and World Video Game Hall of Fame®.

“The Greater Rochester International Airport is the gateway to our community, and we’re honored to work with their team to provide travelers from near and far a dynamic airport experience that leverages two of Rochester’s most unique, international brands—The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame and World Video Game Hall of Fame,” says Steve Dubnik, The Strong’s president and CEO. “These two zones will bring the joy and educational benefits of play to passengers of all ages coming into and departing our region.”

Highlights of the all-ages play zones will include:

World Video Game Hall of Fame®

National Toy Hall of Fame®

Artifact cases showcasing iconic games

Artifact cases of classic toys

Table Tennis Console game

Large-scale toy dump truck

Classic arcade games

Toy trivia and memory games

Information Kiosk

Twister-inspired game

The National Toy Hall of Fame® play zone will be near the Concourse A rotunda adjacent to a planned diner. The World Video Game Hall of Fame® play zone will be near the Concourse B rotunda adjacent to a planned bar and grill.  The interactive play zones will be complete by October 2018 – the Upstate Airport Economic Development & Revitalization project deadline. 

The project was approved at the February meeting of the County Legislature. Construction will begin in June and is slated for completion by the end of the summer travel season.

For weekly updates about the Airport renovation, visit, and for more information about The Strong National Museum of Play, visit


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