Video Games

Video Games in the Humanities Classroom

Before I came to The Strong, I taught writing and literature courses at the Rochester Institute of Technology and elsewhere, which fits right in with writing electronic games blogs. As video games occupy more and more of our playtime, it is not surprising that some educators are finding opportunities to use gaming to teach writing and critical reading skills. Here are three examples I find particularly interesting:

Selling Electronic Play in Video Game Television Commercials

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.

Satisfy Your Wanderlust with These Video Games

I have wanderlust. In college, I found like-minded companions in Dean and Sal from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. In one passage, Sal recognized why he felt compelled to travel and explained that he had “no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, rolling under the stars.” I still relate to his sentiments; however, my lifestyle does not always permit sporadic adventures. Now when I feel the need to hit the open road, I turn to video games for adventure and exploration.

But Mom, I Wanted PONG!

Have you ever yearned for a particular gift only to receive an inferior substitute? That I imagine is what happened under a number of Christmas trees in the mid-1970s, when Marx Toys marketed its T.V. Tennis, an electromechanical version of home video game systems. ICHEG recently acquired a working copy of T.V. Tennis.

Her Interactive Collections at ICHEG

Her Interactive, creator of the popular Nancy Drew games, has donated a large collection of games, design drafts, memoranda, press materials, focus group studies, player correspondence, and other materials that document the company’s history, the development of their Nancy Drew games, and the attitudes of girls towards gaming over the past 20 years. Nancy Drew has captured the imagination of girls since her fictional debut in 1930.

Gaming in 2012

Happy New Year fellow gamers! As we ring in the New Year, I wanted to take a moment to appreciate all the innovations the industry underwent throughout the last 12 months. At the beginning of the year, Sony released the handheld PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) to North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Russia.  Several months earlier, the PS Vita made a successful debut in Japan. Sony marketed the PS Vita as a portable PlayStation 3 and players enjoyed graphics as sharp and colorful as its console predecessor.

The Vectrex Turns 30

During the early 1980s, Smith Engineering/Western Technologies founder and Microvision designer Jay Smith III led an effort to develop a portable home video game console capable of emulating such popular vector graphics-based arcade games as Asteroids (1979) and Tempest (1980).