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.
Childhood trips to a local Kmart always meant two things: my mother searching for “blue light specials” and the chance to slip away to see and play new video games in an environment awash in electronic sights and sounds. What I didn't realize then was that all those video game packages, aisles of shelves, elaborate displays, and flashy kiosks had been carefully designed and displayed to encourage me to purchase new games.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Atari programmers and designers crafted hundreds of new video game play experiences for millions of people. This summer The Strong will open Atari by Design, a temporary exhibit (June 22 – September 8, 2013) that features one-of-a kind concept art and design documents and explores the designs behind some of Atari’s most significant arcade video games and video game consoles.
For those of us who grew up during the so-called “golden age” of arcade games (late 1970s through the middle 1980s), the word “arcade” conjures up images of carpeted walls, smoke-filled rooms, black lights, and row after row of brightly colored vid
When George Gomez, Vice President of Game Development for Stern Pinball, found out he'd be designing The Avengers (2013) pinball machine, he was truly excited. The 2012 film of the same name was a box office juggernaut, grossing more than $600 million domestically.
On a recent stroll through the arcade in The Strong's eGameRevolution exhibit, I recalled a favorite childhood memory of my hometown arcade. During the early to middle 1990s, even as arcades declined, young gamers like me hurried to our local arcades after school to pick fights. No, these weren’t real fights, but some players left with sore fingers from mashing buttons and injured egos from too many lost battles.
A few years ago, I asked my students in an American cultural history course to identify logos and slogans from their lifetime. Not surprisingly, since advertising bombards us through print, radio, television, and the Internet, the students did this easily (try this Logo Quiz game for yourself). After this exercise, the class discussed how advertising illustrates changes in social and cultural history.