Interplay Entertainment Founder Donates Collection to The Strong Museum
December 14, 2016
For Immediate Release
Interplay Entertainment Founder
Donates Collection of Games and Company Records
to The Strong Museum
to The Strong Museum
ROCHESTER, New York—Brian Fargo, influential video game designer and founder of Interplay Entertainment and inXile Entertainment, has donated to The Strong in Rochester, New York, hundreds of materials that document the history of Interplay and the development of many of its iconic games, including notable titles such as the Bard’s Tale Series and Battle Chess. The collection includes extensive materials documenting the course of Fargo’s career at Interplay, which he founded in 1983, and that illustrate how he ran the company and guided their game development. Examples are on view in the museum’s eGameRevolution exhibit.
“Interplay was one of the leading computer game software companies of its era, and it was a significant publisher of games and an incubator of programming talent,” says Jon-Paul C. Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “The items in this collection provide a unique look at how one of the most influential gaming companies of the 1980s and 1990s made its games and ran its business.”
Fargo and three programming colleagues launched Interplay Entertainment (then Interplay Productions) in 1983 and produced their first published game, Mindshadow, in 1984. They built a name developing role-playing video games, including The Bard’s Tales, for Electronic Arts. Later, they began to publish their own games, including Neuromancer and Battle Chess. In the late 1990s, they worked with other studios to develop the iconic Fallout, which launched the still-popular series, and Baldur’s Gate, which spawned an entire franchise of sequels and spin-offs.
“Most of us were kids when we started into the games business, inventing the procedures of development and experimenting before genres were set in stone. We could barely imagine that we would actually get to make a living from making games much less that it would become the biggest entertainment industry in the world,” says Fargo. “Thankfully I kept records that went back 30 years so future historians or developers could glean insight into the early days. I am grateful that we have an organization like The Strong museum to preserve and communicate the history of our medium.”
The Brian Fargo Papers (1983–2012) includes development disks and printed documents for games (released and unreleased) such as Demon's Forge, Software Studio (Software Theater), Shadow Snare, Bard's Tale, Crossbones, Track Meet, Trog, Battle Chess, Storyteller, Model Builder, Mindbender, Swords and Serpents, Mind Shadow, Destiny Knight, Dragon Wars, Bridge, Pebble Beach Golf, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress; game proposals submitted from outside sources; press releases and news clippings; annual reports; staff photographs; daily planners and calendars; business agreements; letters from players talking about the games; materials related to the company's acquisition by MCA; and financial statements.
“This collection enhances the museum’s rich collection of other major company collections such as those from Broderbund, Sierra Online, Her Interactive, and Strategic Simulations, Inc.,” says Dyson. “It will provide a unique resource for anyone interested in studying the history of electronic games.”
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, the 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.