The once pejorative term “walking simulator” was often deployed to single out video games that bucked the trend of delivering a fast-paced, action-packed, adrenaline-pumping experience with clear-cut rules and goals and instead opted for making video games organized by a thin set of rules and optional tasks in favor of open-ended wandering and exploration. These days, walking simulators show promise as they rise in popularity, signaling an important shift in interest among developers and gamers alike toward nuance, discovery, and […]
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In 2018, The Strong embarked on a project to digitize floppy disks using a device called the Kryoflux to capture the data stored on 3.5- and 5.25-inch floppy disks. Reading a floppy disk in the 21st century was the first step necessary to preserve hundreds of floppy disks in The Strong’s archival collections. In some cases, the Kryoflux was a useful tool to capture old games and development materials but, with more than 1,500 floppy disk images in […]
Rubber has been used to play ball since the first Mesoamerican ball games of the Olmec people began around 3,000 years ago. The ball courts used for that game can be visited at Tulum, Ek Balam, and Coba in Mexico. The Olmec discovered that latex from a rubber tree could be mixed with juice from a species of morning glory to produce a useable rubber. The rubber was formed into hollow and solid balls for the ancient game, but very […]
In the beginning (or at least in the late 19th century), there was film. Capturing moving images and playing them back for astonished audiences at the cinema more than a century ago was magical. Though many people are still familiar with film, which has endured as a medium despite changing technologies, there are plenty of moving image formats which have been rendered obsolete over time and have found their way into the holdings of numerous libraries, archives, and museums.
I previously […]
In 2006, when we began our efforts at The Strong to preserve the history of video games, we knew we were onto an important subject, but we did not truly foresee the vast array of challenges that we would face in preserving video games. Over the years as we founded the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) and grew our collection to more than 60,000 video games and related objects we’ve learned quite a bit about how […]
When’s the last time you thought about everyone’s favorite old-fashioned magnetic media storage device, the floppy disk? Has it been years? Decades? Or never? With our experience today backing up onto cloud storage, shared folders, and USB drives, people seem to have forgotten how difficult saving your digital files used to be. In the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong, our archival collections contain hundreds of floppy disks which hold game design documentation, graphics, text […]
John and Harold Porter created their first chemistry set in 1915 after seeing the popularity of A. C. Gilbert’s Erector Set. In 1920, Gilbert made his Gilbert chemistry outfit, with the clear intention of encouraging boys to become chemists. In the 19th century, chemistry sets were practical kits made for school use. Savvy teachers have known for years that chemistry classes become memorable when a molecule is put in context. For instance, sodium thiosulfate solution can be used to clean […]
Reading reports about some retail store closings, it’s hard to ignore that many of us often prefer shopping online with millions of products at our fingertips to navigating a shopping cart through the aisles of our local retailers. As a historian with an interest in consumer culture and as someone who spent countless hours of my childhood playing the latest Nintendo Entertainment System games on a demonstration kiosk at our local K-Mart, it’s difficult to image a world without the […]
When The Strong museum recently acquired a Shirley Temple doll from the 1930s, it went to the museum’s doll conservator Darlene Gengelbach for treatment. These dolls have sleep eyes that open and close with metal rockers. The rocker is a spindle attached to the inside of the doll’s head with a small weight attached to a metal plate. Each painted metal eye has a celluloid pupil and iris.
More significantly, the celluloid centers of Shirley Temple’s eyes appeared “crazed,” a term […]