Former Blizzard Entertainment COO Donates Collection

The Strong News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 • 585-263-2700 •

August 31, 2015

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365,

Kim Della Porta, 585-410-6325,

Former Blizzard Entertainment
COO Donates Games and Merchandise
Collection to The Strong Museum

ROCHESTER, New York—Paul Sams, former longtime Chief Operating Officer of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., has donated to The Strong in Rochester, New York, more than 1,500 items from his personal collection that document Blizzard Entertainment’s history creating and developing popular video game franchises such as the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo series. The collection includes games and related merchandise gathered over a more than 20-year period, from 1992 to 2015. Many examples will be on view to the public at The Strong museum in a special display beginning October 1.

“The broad scope of this collection showcases the important worldwide influence that World of Warcraft®, an inaugural inductee to The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame®, and other Blizzard games have had on popular culture, the history of gaming, and the development of virtual communities,” says Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games® (ICHEG).

“During my 20-year career at Blizzard, I accumulated the single largest and most diverse personal global collection of Blizzard Entertainment’s games and franchise related merchandise that anyone has ever seen,” says Paul Sams. “This collection holds a very dear place in my heart and I wanted to ensure that the materials would be properly preserved for many decades to come. The dedicated and talented team at The Strong were the obvious choice to care for the collection. Most importantly, I wanted to ensure that broadest audience of gamers and fans of entertainment and play would be able to share in this extensive collection of gaming history.”

The Paul Sams Collection of Blizzard Games and Merchandise includes multiple copies of all of Blizzard’s key games—going back to games such as The Lost Vikings® and RPM Racing® produced in the early 1990s when the company was known as Silicon & Synapse®—as well as an extensive assemblage of related merchandise such as figures, plush toys, posters, costumes, fiction, comics and graphic novels, strategy guides, board and trading card games, Mega Bloks, drinkware, pins, jewelry, material from past BlizzCon® gaming conventions, and much more. It is also rich in materials representing Blizzard’s history in Asian regions such as China, Korea, and Taiwan, underscoring Blizzard’s global popularity.

Says Dyson, “The Blizzard collection enhances the museum’s extensive collection of other materials related to video game history and complements acquisitions of materials from other key gaming companies such as Atari, Broderbund Software, Microsoft, and Sierra Online.”  

About The Strong

The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to the history and exploration of play. It is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play. 

About the International Center for the History of Electronic Games

The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) collects, studies, and interprets video games, other electronic games, and related materials and the ways in which electronic games are changing how people play, learn, and connect with each other, including across boundaries of culture and geography. As a result of ICHEG’s efforts, The Strong’s collection of video games, other electronic games, and game-related historical materials is the largest and most comprehensive public assemblage in the United States and one of the largest in the world.