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.
This scholarly search is now bringing researchers to the comprehensive collections of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games at The Strong with growing frequency. Some of these scholars want to experience how early games worked. Others access the large magazine collection or study the papers of particular individuals like Will Wright and Ralph Baer. Many explore broader topics such as the military applications of video games or the evolution of game audio. Each of these researchers contributes to the growth of video game scholarship.
Michael Newman, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is among those who have both played games in their original forms in our ICHEG lab and researched them in our library and archives. The ICHEG “staff had tested all of the games before I arrived to make sure they are functional,” he commented afterward. Then they “offered me tips and suggestions and ideas of books to consider reading, helping me generate new ideas.”
Despite research already being conducted, video game scholarship is still a young field, and so The Strong has launched a program of paid fellowships to help more scholars from around the world access our collections. We review applications on a periodic rolling basis and make grants throughout the year. In this way, we can help games receive scholarly attention commensurate with their societal importance.
By Jon-Paul Dyson, Director, International Center for the History of Electronic Games and Vice President for Exhibits