The oldest known baseball card shows the entire Brooklyn Atlantics team from around 1860. Later that decade, baseball became a professional sport and its public popularity soared. The first baseball cards were essentially trade cards—premiums given away with products to make a purchase more desirable. A photograph or drawing of a single player on the front was accompanied by product information on the back. Often these products had nothing at all to do with baseball. But people, especially kids, enjoyed […]
In 1981, Commodore introduced the Vic 20 home computer, which sold for around $300. The first computer more easily afforded by average families, it revolutionized home computing. Scott Elder and his brother Gary were tinkering with games—and programming them—on their own simple computer, an Ohio Scientific 2P, which they bought secondhand. Scott admits he was not the best student in high school, but somehow, he had a talent for writing code. As soon as the Vic 20 came out, he […]
Game design is learned by doing. Get a game with a level editor or a scenario maker or whatever and create something. Get some friends to try it. Don’t TELL them how to play. Instead, watch them and see what happens.—Arnold Hendrick
Granting a rare interview in 2009 and reflecting on his career, Arnold Hendrick (1961–2020) described his passion for wargaming and then for game design. His first published game appeared as the game supplement in the wargaming magazine Strategy & […]
In the Autumn, 1975 issue of Strategic Review, the precursor to Dragon Magazine, Gary Gygax wrote:
John Bobek and Bill Hoyt have used D&D as a teaching aid in grade school classes. Bill has a great little book of accounts of adventures and illustrations of monsters prepared by his 6th graders. Wish I’d have had such luck as a child . . .
Role-play gaming as a formal and specific game type began with the invention and introduction of the original Dungeons […]
The first G.I. Joe action figure, initially named an “action soldier,” appeared in 1964. Even though the series was renamed the G.I. Joe Adventure Team in 1975 to downplay associations with the Vietnam War, for many kids Joe remained a soldier. The origins of the term “G.I.” have been debated but, during World War I, U.S. soldiers were referred to as “G.I.’s.” Cartoonist and draftee Dave Breger is credited with adding the “Joe” in his 1942 cartoon strip “G.I. Joe” […]
On November 4, 2022, the board game Risk joined the other celebrated toys and games in the National Toy Hall of Fame. But that accolade only confirmed what someone like John Crocker knew—Risk is a great game. Crocker served in the United States Air Force during the Gulf War, from 1990–1991. His squad stumbled upon a Risk board game. He said,
“During our time in the Gulf we must have played 50 (heated) games of Risk. Fast forward to our 25 year Gulf war […]
We receive lots of donations every year at The Strong, from single items to accumulations numbering in the hundreds or even thousands. One of the largest collections ever gifted to the museum has been the game collection we received from the founder of Mayfair Games. This collection includes not only thousands of games, but important archives related to a game manufacturer and to game design and marketing. And the collection holds game prototypes which I find fascinating artifacts.
Most of the […]
During the first few years after the introduction of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) in 1973, Gary Gygax, who had the strongest impact on the fantasy elements of the game, denied any direct influences from fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien. Many players recognized immediately that numerous D&D character and creature names came directly from the books. But it took until 1977 for intellectual property lawyers from a firm which had licensed the rights to Tolkien’s work to send a cease-and-desist […]
Born in Tanganyika (now the Republic of Tanzania) in East Africa, English national Leslie Scott and her family moved to Ghana, a country rich in wood, when she was 18. She and her family had played a block stacking game since childhood, and she commissioned sets of blocks from a local sawmill. In her 20s, Scott moved to Oxford, England, and brought some block sets with her. Her British friends loved the game to obsession, she says, “but […]