Veteran game designer Don Daglow recently gave the International Center for the History of Electronic Games a collection of design documents, early drafts of code, play test reports, and other papers that document the development of his games, including Neverwinter Nights (1991), one of the most important games in the history of the industry.
Recently, a couple of things have prompted me to think more about the history of video games in Europe. First, I’ve been reading Tristan Donovan’s excellent new book: Replay: The History of Video Games.
Between individual meetings about our work here at ICHEG, I grabbed an opportunity to wander the E3 conference floor in LA. After interacting with the various displays, I concluded that this year's E3 encompassed three themes:
Ever been stuck in a game? You’re not alone. Back in the 1980s, when I was cutting my gaming teeth, I remember being stymied by Colossal Cave Adventure. I was playing the Osborne Computer version, written by Mike Goetz I believe, and to win the game you had to amass 580 points by solving a series of puzzles and challenges to acquire all the treasure. I had figured out almost all the problems in the game but couldn’t complete it. At last a friend told me I could teleport from room to room with the secret word, XYZZY.
Ever since 1986, when Chris Crawford invited leading game designers to his home to discuss their work, the Game Developers Conference has been an annual forum for the world’s foremost innovators to share ideas and consider the future of the industry.
Each year at GDC, I am drawn to sessions that explore what makes for good play. This held true for GDC 2010, which I attended with my fellow CHEGheads, Marc and Eric.
If one sign of a great game is staying power, then The Oregon Trail stands out for over forty years of enduring popularity. The game has also outlasted many different platforms.
“You are a daring deep-sea diver holed up on Hardscrabble Island, a dying little seaport all but forgotten….” And so begins Infocom’s 1984 text-based adventure, Cutthroats, about a search for sunken treasure.
A recent e-mail inquiry from a researcher in Finland gave me a great opportunity to mine our vast trade catalog collection for information about the prehistory of electronic games. The researcher wanted to know more about the origins of pre-computer electric quiz games of the 1940s and 1950s.
“You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door." "There is a small mailbox here.”