Atari Packaging Design Collection Documents the Art of Selling Video Games

Atari Packaging Design Collection Documents the Art of Selling Video Games

The Strong has acquired a collection of more than 2,000 drawings, photographs, mock-ups, proofs, and other materials related to the design and production of Atari home and handheld game packaging and user manuals from 1976–1984. The Cort and Barbara Allen Atari Packaging Design Collection, 1976–1984, documents how the company’s artists, designers, and writers developed and…

ICHEG, the RPO, and Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy

ICHEG, the RPO, and Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy

As a child, I always enjoyed playing video games, but I never paid too much attention to the musical accompaniment in the background. It wasn’t until college that I first heard gaming music on its own. Prior to that, I simply enjoyed the music as background noise for games, or as musical cues that prompted…

The Williams Pinball Playfield Design Collection

The Williams Pinball Playfield Design Collection

Pioneering Chicago-based gaming company Williams Electronics Games, Inc. donated the Williams Pinball Playfield Design Collection, 1946–1995 to The Strong. The collection consists of more than 200 original drawings of playfields (the pinball machines’ surface where the ball rolls) layouts (with a nearly complete set of sketches from 1947 to 1971), hundreds of mechanical drawings of…

Paul Sams Collection Showcases Influence and History of Blizzard Entertainment

Paul Sams Collection Showcases Influence and History of Blizzard Entertainment

Paul Sams, former Chief Operating Officer at the American video game developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment, has donated a collection that traces the history of the company and highlights the importance of its games. Sams worked for Blizzard from 1996 through 2015 and served as the Chief Operating Officer for eleven years. During his tenure,…

Hand-Drawn Animation: From Cartoons to Video Games

Hand-Drawn Animation: From Cartoons to Video Games

The introduction of Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI)—the application of computer graphics to create images in media—in the 1990s moved many illustrators away from traditional frame-by-frame, two-dimensional animation techniques. John Lasseter demonstrated the possibilities of CGI when he directed Toy Story, the first feature-length computer-animated film, for Pixar in 1995. Shortly after the release of Toy Story,…

Penguin Software Collection

Penguin Software Collection

Penguin Software founder and lead developer Mark Pelczarski has donated the Penguin Software Collection, 1970-2013 to ICHEG. In addition to more than three dozen copies of games and graphics software released by Penguin, the collection includes source code, background notes and other material related to the development of games, company correspondence, and Pelczarski’s publications on…

The First Class of the World Video Game Hall of Fame

The First Class of the World Video Game Hall of Fame

It’s official! The members of the inaugural class of The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame are Pong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, DOOM, and World of Warcraft. All of these games stand out because in addition to being great games, they have transcended the world of gaming to impact our wider culture. Games…

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…

Claymation: From the Movie Screen to the Video Game Screen

Claymation: From the Movie Screen to the Video Game Screen

Video game design often involves sophisticated software and complex coding that results in a visual and auditory experience for the user. Several designers today incorporate tactical play into video game design. Plasticine, a non-drying, non-toxic, malleable clay, developed by art teacher William Harbutt in 1897, has become an experimental tool of the trade.

Lessons from the Past for the Future of Virtual Reality

Lessons from the Past for the Future of Virtual Reality

Last month, while attending the Game Developers Conference, I couldn’t help but notice the giant booths advertising Oculus Rift, Sony Morpheus, Steam VR, and other new virtual reality headsets that are the hottest trend in gaming. While I didn’t stand in any of the long lines to try these devices, like many people I’m curious…