During and following World War II, children across the United States used their pocket money to collect trading cards that depicted the activities of the U.S. military in a variety of times and places, both current conflicts such as the Pacific Theater in World War II or the Korean War of 1950–1953, and historical ones, such as the Mexican-American War and the American Revolutionary War. Although many cards showed lurid and violent conflict, much of this kind of action was […]
Search by Category
How did you spend the summer after your high school graduation? Though that was a few more years ago than I care to enumerate, some memories spring to the forefront of my mind: feeling anxious and excited about starting college in the fall; working long hours at a family entertainment center (where I was occasionally costumed as a giant mouse…); and spending those last, warm evenings having fun with my hometown friends. I was certainly not doing anything groundbreaking—pretty much […]
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 […]
Have you ever wondered how some of your favorite board games were developed? Did the idea spring, fully formed, out of the head of a publishing executive? Or was the game carefully shaped by an independent designer and perfected over years of play-testing, rule changes, and feedback? At The Strong, we’re able to glimpse behind the scenes through the lens of one of the most prolific American game inventors of the 20th century: Sid Sackson. Perhaps best known for Acquire, […]
Often written off as charming novelties of childhood, paper dolls can serve as powerful indicators of the drastic sociopolitical changes occurring in the early 20th century. Like many toys, they reflect the cultural values of their creators and their consumers, providing insight into the lives of women and children during a tumultuous political era. During my time at The Strong National Museum of Play, I was able to examine a wide variety of paper dolls created between 1900 and 1940 […]
By 1980, Jerry Lawson was ready for a change. The 40-year-old electrical engineer had spent most of the 1970s working for Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation in Silicon Valley. In 1976, he led a team of talented engineers who took an Alpex Computer Corporation prototype and developed it into the Fairchild Channel F, the first home video game console to use interchangeable game cartridges. Although revolutionary in concept, the Channel F was quickly eclipsed by another cartridge-based console […]
2021 G. Rollie Adams Research Fellow
PhD Student at The State University of New York at Buffalo
I came to The Strong with an open-ended mission: to soak up everything I could surrounding my research interests in early childhood autism and play as part of my dissertation research. Fortunately, The Strong’s Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play is filled with rich secondary materials that provided a lens to understand the primary sources within the museum’s collections in a new way.
Is our destiny in our hands, in God’s hands, or are we merely tossed on the winds of chance?
Those deep questions of causality and chance have long preoccupied philosophers and thinkers, and I was reminded of them a while ago when reading a book about 17th-century Puritan belief. This followed a conversation I had with a researcher at The Strong who was interested in the links between popular understandings of quantum mechanics and thinking about play. “God doesn’t play dice,” […]
Who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt?
Whether we’re children or adults, there’s something irresistible about following a trail of clues (a map makes it easier and more fun) to some hidden cache that promises untold riches. Most often treasure hunts live only in the world of fiction—Treasure Island with its memorable characters Long John Silver, Jim Hawkins, Billy Bones, and Captain Flint—set the mold that has been imitated by countless books and movies such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, […]