A Genealogy of Fantasy Play (with a Special Nod to Iceland)

A Genealogy of Fantasy Play (with a Special Nod to Iceland)

Today, fantasy role-playing video games—in which players assume the role of heroes wielding swords, casting spells, riding dragons, and battling monsters—are among the most popular and influential of games. Yet if we consider the examples found in The Strong’s trove of 19th-century board games, we see that games with such themes are quite rare. Other styles of modern games, such as sports or war games, existed in great abundance long ago, but relatively few of these old games have fantasy themes. That raises the question, where did  fantasy role-playing develop? And one answer, surprisingly, has to do with the small country of Iceland.

The Strong Launches Women in Games Initiative

The Strong Launches Women in Games Initiative

For many decades, women have played key roles in the design, production, manufacture, marketing, and writing of video games, and yet their history in the gaming industry is too little preserved and too often underappreciated. The Strong’s Women in Games initiative will document and celebrate these crucial contributions through a concerted effort to collect, preserve,…

Following The Bouncing Ball: Tennis for Two…at The Strong!

Following The Bouncing Ball: Tennis for Two...at The Strong!

On October 18, 1958, a curious object appeared at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) during its annual Visitor’s Day. Unlike the static (mainly photo and text) displays arranged to showcase projects from BNL’s different lab divisions, this unnamed object from the Instrumentation Division consisted of a 5½ inch DuMont cathode ray tube X-Y graphic oscilloscope connected…

Preserving Video Game History with the Brian Fargo Papers, 1983-2012

Preserving Video Game History with the Brian Fargo Papers, 1983-2012

The Strong launched the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) in 2009 because we believed video games were too popular, too creative, and too influential for their history to be lost. Since then, many key industry leaders have aided our preservation efforts by donating to The Strong personal materials that document their…

MECC, The Company that Launched Educational Gaming

MECC, The Company that Launched Educational Gaming

It is impossible to tell the story of educational computing without acknowledging the tremendous importance of Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation (MECC), the first organization to provide widespread access to games and other computer software for educational purposes. The Strong is proud to acquire and preserve the Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation Collection, 1968–2011. 

An Ancient Game in a Digital Age

An Ancient Game in a Digital Age

Recently for The Strong’s American Journal of Play, I reviewed Garry Fine’s new book on the sociology of chess, and I particularly enjoyed his discussion on the role of computers in chess.

Why ICHEG Collects Game Company Newsletters and Magazines

Why ICHEG Collects Game Company Newsletters and Magazines

Several years ago as a graduate student, while working on my dissertation, I visited an archive to conduct research on the records of an advertising agency.  As I searched through page after page of the collection’s finding aid, I couldn’t escape a sinking feeling that the archival gems I needed—internal agency memoranda, correspondence, and meeting…

Installing Ralph Baer’s Desk at The Strong

Installing Ralph Baer's Desk at The Strong

Museums have long memorialized genius. While art museums preserve great paintings and sculptures, history museums collect and preserve a wide-ranging record of the ways individuals, groups, and companies have shaped our society. The Strong’s focus on the history and meaning of play has guided its efforts to preserve a comprehensive collection of artifacts that document…

The 2016 Class for the World Video Game Hall of Fame

The 2016 Class for the World Video Game Hall of Fame

Anyone interested in the evolution of video games can learn a great deal by simply examining the history of the six newest inductees into The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame: The Oregon Trail, Space Invaders, The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Sims, and Grand Theft Auto III.

Light Up the Night with Mega Man Rock

Light Up the Night with Mega Man Rock

I have a confession to make. It’s kind of embarrassing, but I’m hoping readers will understand. I’m 34 years old, and just recently, I attended my first rock concert. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering my profession, this concert consisted of a hard rock opera based on the 1980s video game series Mega Man.