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.
Imagine you’re lost in a wilderness. You must ford rivers, traverse swamps, scale mountains, and acquire enough water and food to survive and eventually reach your destination. Every day there’s a chance you will encounter a wild beast of some kind.
Traditional library and archival materials help flesh out the history of video games. In addition to the personal papers of famous game designers like Ralph Baer, Ken and Roberta Williams, Dan Bunten, and Bill Budge, The Strong collections include many items that shed light on the formative decades for the development of electronic games.
I’m writing this blog while carrying a phone with the potential to play tens of thousands of games like Angry Birds, Temple Run, and Words with Friends. The incredible diversity of game options reflects a revolution in mobile gaming. Today’s smart phones offer a cornucopia of choices inconceivable to users who back in 1997 were satisfied playing Snake on their Nokia phone. But while the number of different mobile games available is new, the desire for games to play on the go is quite old.
The roots of video gaming go deep into the longer history of games, puzzles, and play. Backyard games of cops and robbers predated first-person shooters. Puzzles existed long before designers incorporated them in video games. Pen and paper RPGs proved so exciting and immersive that programmers began creating electronic variations.