“Your breath smells like camel spit and urine samples,” exclaimed one of my dearest friends at the top of his lungs, as a group of our friends walked to the local pool, in the summer of 2002. While the rest of our crew was caught up in the rapture of laughter at what might be the best roast I have received to this day, the challenge of a response weighed upon me. Timing was everything in these engagements. The right […]
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As part of an ongoing museum project, I am digging into archives to locate the history of Rochester at Play. As someone relatively new to New York and Rochester—where The Strong calls home—I am connecting more deeply to the city as I learn how and where people played historically. Rochester locals graciously share stories about sledding hills and the old play spaces unfortunately swallowed up by construction. City historians and archivists steer me to resources that spotlight the fun tales […]
Play begins in anticipation. This is true not only for play generally but also specifically for video games. We discover a game from an advertisement or through word of mouth or perhaps from reading or watching something that someone else—often a professional journalist—has written or produced about the game. We begin to daydream about the game and think about what we’ll do in it, what surprises we’ll discover, and what challenges we will have to overcome. Our fingers itch to […]
The Toy and Game Industry in the U.S.
The U.S. toy industry, for obvious reasons, doesn’t have hundreds of years of history extending before the industrial revolution that Europe experienced. Before the early 1800s, if you were a child of wealthy parents, you likely had toys purchased from overseas for you or perhaps purchased in one of the new-fangled “department stores” in a major city. If you weren’t so fortunate, the few toys and games you most likely had were “folk […]
Many people know how much impact Jews and Jewish culture have had on entertainment industries like film, television, and comic books. But Jewish designers, entrepreneurs, and inventors have also shaped the world of toys, games, pinball, and video games, and the products of their careers are a huge part of the collections of both The Strong museum and the childhoods of millions in the U.S. and around the world. Those careers go back to the early days of the industrial […]
In October 2021, The Strong launched The Sid Sackson Portal, a project funded by the National Archives’ National Historical Publications and Record Commission, which holds pride of place here in the archives.. On the site, you can view full PDFs of each year’s diary or Browse the Collection to keyword search or to view individual page image files. You can also learn more about Sid and his career, view hundreds of photos of game prototypes (as well as published games), […]
On November 10, 2022, the top was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame along with Lite-Brite and Masters of the Universe. In the runup to the induction, the primary comment I heard about the top ran along the lines of, “What?! You mean the top isn’t already in the Hall of Fame?” That reaction underscores just how universal and timeless the top feels even to people in our highly technological era. It’s definitely a toy with a lengthy […]
Your hands are shaking as you fumble with the small, plastic pieces, eyes scanning the red board for the hole that matches the shape clutched in your fingers…
The tick-tick-tick of the timer is drowned out by the pounding of your heart in your ears…
You know it’s coming but cannot stop yourself from jumping when the timer stops ticking and BOOM! The game board pops up, launching all the pieces into the air and onto the floor around you.
You breathe a […]
One Prototype to rule them all, One Prototype to backup and save.
Long before Peter Jackson brought The Lord of the Rings to life on the big screen, others tried their hands at adapting the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy classic. With the 1978 animated film directed by Ralph Bakshi just a few years prior, Parker Brothers began advertising a video game adaptation in 1982.
Scheduled for a winter 1983 release, The Lord of the Rings: Journey to Rivendell for Atari 2600 home consoles […]