I Want YOU (to Test Your Grip): Uncle Sam as Arcade Icon

I Want YOU (to Test Your Grip): Uncle Sam as Arcade Icon

Stern Pinball’s recent announcement of a new line of KISS pinball machines “honoring one of the most influential and iconic rock bands of all time,” reminded me how frequently today’s coin-operated amusement games center on licensed brands, revered characters, and cultural icons.  Other recent examples include Stern’s The Avengers (2012) and Mustang (2014) and Raw…

Morality at Play in Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead

Morality at Play in Telltale Games' The Walking Dead

As a kid, I loved playing hide-and-seek. My favorite variation was a team-based game in which a dozen of us hid and chased each other through the streets and backyards of my densely packed neighborhood. Because we all knew the best places to hide, no one could stay in same spot for more than a…

Video Game Focus Groups as History

Video Game Focus Groups as History

ICHEG collects a vast variety of archival materials such as artwork, design documents, and interoffice communication that provide researchers with essential details about how game companies and designers conceived, thought about, created, and sold their games.

The Lasting Appeal of Chase Games

The Lasting Appeal of Chase Games

Frequently my two-year-old daughter Sidney greets me with two words: “chase, Daddy.” It’s a request that usually leads to lots of laughter and me circling around tables and chairs as I chase her throughout our house. In psychologist Peter Gray’s book Free to Learn, he notes that young mammals of nearly all species play chase…

Inside the Atari Coin-Op Divisions Collection: What’s in an Ad?

Inside the Atari Coin-Op Divisions Collection: What’s in an Ad?

Recently The Strong acquired a colossal collection of materials related to Atari’s coin-operated video game and pinball divisions.

Pinball Lives at The Strong

Pinball Lives at The Strong

Over the past two years, the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) has been working to preserve pinball’s past by expanding its collection to more than 50 historic pinball machines—adding early “pin games” (flipperless predecessors to pinball machines) and electromechanical and “solid state” (electronic) pinball machines to the museum’s unparalleled collection of…

ICHEG Preserves Atari Coin-Op Divisions Collection

ICHEG Preserves Atari Coin-Op Divisions Collection

ICHEG has acquired a massive collection of materials chronicling the history of Atari’s pioneering video arcade and pinball machine divisions from 1972 to 1999. The collection represents the largest and most comprehensive assemblage of archival records and other documentary items related to Atari’s coin-operated games anywhere in the world.

Honoring Gaming Innovator Eugene Jarvis

Honoring Gaming Innovator Eugene Jarvis

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the 17th Annual D.I.C.E Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Each year, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences celebrates the best interactive games and with its Pioneer Award honors a person whose “career-spanning work has helped shape and define the interactive entertainment…

Collection Documents the Career of Video Game Pioneer Jerry Lawson

Collection Documents the Career of Video Game Pioneer Jerry Lawson

Few of us think of the Fairchild Channel F (1976) when playing our new disc-based video game consoles. Fewer of us think of its creator, one of the first African American video game designers, Gerald “Jerry” Lawson (1940-2011). Nevertheless, the seeds for today’s systems were planted during the middle 1970s by Lawson and the team…

Wizardry, Dragon Quest, and the Japanese Role-Playing Video Game

Wizardry, Dragon Quest, and the Japanese Role-Playing Video Game

Video game historians hoping to trace the intellectual and cultural influences of some games may find themselves crossing oceans to do so. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Japanese video games spread to North America and across the globe, exporting Japanese culture and energizing the slumping home console industry. ICHEG’s recent acquisition of a collection of nearly…