A century ago, Max and Dave Fleischer, two brothers from Brooklyn, developed a device that allowed animators to capture live-action events frame by frame. They tested their system on the roof of Max’s apartment building, where Dave, wearing a black clown suit, cavorted in front of a white sheet. Max captured the movements on film and projected them onto a glass plate that he then used to trace out pictures of individual movements. The result was rotoscoping, an animation technique that Max patented in 1915 that produced amazingly life-like movements.
Biologists who study the fossil record note that dramatic blooms in the number and diversity of species interrupt long periods of stasis or gradual change in animal forms. Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould termed this phenomenon “punctuated equilibrium” and wrote a book, Wonderful Life, about the sudden efflorescence of fossils during the Cambrian period about 550 million years ago.
ICHEG collects a vast array of materials. Sometimes they come in groups of thousands, like the archives of the Atari Coin-Op divisions we acquired, and sometimes they come in ones and twos, like John Romero’s first Apple II+ computer and design notebook that he donated. John recently joined us in installing these items in The Strong’s eGameRevolution exhibit.
Statistics sit at the heart of baseball. A hitter’s batting average predicts his success at the plate, a pitcher’s Earned Run Average measures his overall effectiveness, and a fielder’s rate of errors correlates strongly with his likelihood of making a play. Since computers prove effective tools for measuring probabilities and statistics, it is not surprising that some of the earliest applications of computers for game play involved baseball simulation.
When I give guests a tour through The Strong, I always plan to spend a few extra minutes in the museum’s Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden where approximately 800 butterflies fly around. I’ve noticed that if you move quickly through the space you miss many butterflies that are resting or feeding. But when you stay still, your perception sharpens and you notice more butterflies and moths perched on leaves, on branches, or on fruit.
Brøderbund founder Doug Carlston has given ICHEG nearly 1,500 copies of Brøderbund’s software (in pristine condition), representing virtually every product the company released, and an extensive archive of business records that document the growth of both the company and the personal computer software industry.
When Joel Billings launched Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI) in 1979, he was fresh out of college and committed to the proposition that players would find wargaming fun and easier on a computer. The company’s first product, Computer Bismarck (1980), became the first computer wargame to gain commercial success.
Today, electronic games are being integrated into our lives in ways that often have nothing to do with a video screen. In previous blogs CHEGheads noted that fantasy football might be considered an electronic game and Der Gute Fabrik’s brilliant Johan Sebastian Joust is undoubtedly an electronic game, even if it doesn’t have a video screen.