In 1970, the movie Patton became a top-grossing film of the year, earned eight Academy Awards, and starred George C. Scott as the brilliant, eccentric World War II tank commander General George S. Patton. At a time when the country was mired in jungle warfare in Vietnam, in which tanks played relatively little role, audiences warmed to the epic story of America’s fast-moving tactical victories in the “good war” a quarter-century earlier. Tanks fired the imagination of not only movie-goers, but game players as well.
On a recent trip to France, I saw the beautiful Romanesque basilica of St.
Have you ever yearned for a particular gift only to receive an inferior substitute? That I imagine is what happened under a number of Christmas trees in the mid-1970s, when Marx Toys marketed its T.V. Tennis, an electromechanical version of home video game systems. ICHEG recently acquired a working copy of T.V.
Her Interactive, creator of the popular Nancy Drew games, has donated a large collection of games, design drafts, memoranda, press materials, focus group studies, player correspondence, and other materials that document the company’s history, the development of their Nancy Drew games, and the attitudes of girls towards gaming over the past 20 years.
ICHEG’s website now features a new timeline charting the development of video games from the experiments of a few early computer pioneers to the products of a multibillion dollar industry. Some years on the timeline present an important or groundbreaking game or system; other entries symbolize a trend, such as the development of social and mobile gaming.
ICHEG has acquired a collection of more than 250 drawings that document how designers at Atari created some of the most important games of the arcade era. Sketches show the development of games such as Gran Trak 10, the first cabinet to use a steering wheel, shifter, and gas and brake pedals; Touch Me, which inspired Ralph Baer’s Simon; the pioneering 3D dogfight simulator Red Baron; and the legendary dungeon crawler Gauntlet.
As a young child, I loved to climb the stairs of my aunt and uncle’s house to my cousin’s room filled with model airplanes he had assembled. Spitfires, Zeros, Messerchmitts, and B-17 Fighting Fortresses lined the shelves, parked on bureaus, and hung suspended from the ceiling. I still remember how I felt as I gazed in wonder at the formations of planes flying overhead.
Video games have fundamentally changed our patterns of play, learning, and social interaction, and researchers are increasingly examining the history of video games in order to explain this evolution.
Sometimes we play to compete, to engage in what the play scholar Johan Huizinga termed agon, or competition. That is why we love athletic contests. And yet many other types of play don’t prioritize competition. Instead they reward the silly and the nonsensical. Recently, watching two of my sons tussling reminded me that tickling contests, humorous ripostes, pun-making....all look for the reward of a smile rather than the thrill of victory.
Chuck E. Cheese play set—you supply the video games