The Virtual World of LEGOs

The Virtual World of LEGOs

When Danish carpenter Ole Christiansen sensed a demand for inexpensive, quality playthings in the 1930s, he crafted wooden blocks and other toys and soon founded LEGO. In 1949, the company produced a set of red and white interlocking plastic bricks entitled “Automatic Building Blocks.” For decades, LEGO sets have provided children and adults with hours…

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Hunting for Easter Eggs

Hunting for Easter Eggs

I recently read Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One. The story captivated me and likely appeals to other gaming fans, especially those who—like me—happen to love 1980s pop-culture. Although the book takes place in the future, the plot encouraged me to think more about games from the past. In Ready Player One, America becomes a…

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Difficulty in Video Gaming

Difficulty in Video Gaming

Some video games make us want to throw our controllers against the wall and swear never to play again. But somehow we always seem to find ourselves plopped back on the couch, controller clutched tightly in our hands, determined that this time will be different. Frustration and challenge are part of the appeal of a…

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Evolution of the Rubik’s Cube

Evolution of the Rubik’s Cube

“For me, the Cube is a piece of art. It is more than an object with the shapes of a cube made of plastic, more than many colored stickers, more than a puzzle, and it is much more than a gimmick. Like other pieces of art, the Cube is more than itself. Though it may…

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Strong Fellowships Promote Play Scholarship

Strong Fellowships Promote Play Scholarship

Three times a year The Strong accepts research fellowship applications from academic scholars, independent researchers, and students at the Masters or PhD level interested in conducting research at The Strong.

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Five ICHEG Acquisitions of 2013

Five ICHEG Acquisitions of 2013

As Acquisitions Cataloger, I get to see every object ICHEG acquires. The CHEGheads have already written about some of our most influential new items of 2013, such as our collection of nearly 7,000 Japanese video games; a Fix-It Felix, Jr. arcade machine commissioned directly from Disney to promote their animated feature film Wreck-It Ralph; and…

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Mother 2: A Parody, a Satire, a Cult Video Game Classic

Mother 2: A Parody, a Satire, a Cult Video Game Classic

In 1994, Nintendo released the second installment of the Mother trilogy, Mother 2: Gyiyg no Gyakushuu (Gyiyg Strikes Back) for the Super Famicom. The game first appeared in the Japanese market and players enjoyed designer Shigesato Itoi’s use of satire to depict Western culture. Mother 2 also became one of the most popular games of the…

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Realm Reborn: A Not-So-Final Fantasy

Realm Reborn: A Not-So-Final Fantasy

On September 22, 2010, game developer and publisher Square Enix released Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV), the latest addition to one of the top-grossing video game franchises ever created. This marked the second game in the series to be part of the massively-multiplayer online (MMO) genre. Almost immediately, negative responses from gamers and critics poured into…

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Hercules: The Pinball Legend

In 1976, game designer Ron Halliburton of Arcade Engineering created a jumbo-sized pinball machine concept for the Bally Manufacturing Corporation. Bally created two prototypes for the electro-mechanical game they called Bigfoot and determined not to move it to production. Allan Reizman, Engineering Lab Supervisor at Bally, reported that the intense vibrations and stress the oversized…

Brenda Romero: “The Mechanic is the Message”

Brenda Romero: “The Mechanic is the Message”

The current “serious gaming” trend in both electronic and traditional play uses games to increase awareness of significant cultural, historical, and current events. Game designers Brenda Brathwaite Romero and John Romero recently visited The Strong and provided a compelling demonstration of this trend to staff.