The Strong Receives Donation of Materials Chronicling Nutting Associates
September 28, 2017
For Immediate Release
The Strong Museum Receives Donation of Materials
Chronicling History of First Coin-Operated Video Game Maker
ROCHESTER, New York—The Strong recently received a donation of artifacts, including photographs, a scrapbook, schematics, marketing materials, and diagrams related to Nutting Associates (1966–1977), the first manufacturer of coin-operated video games. The company’s 1971 Computer Space—designed by later Atari co-founders Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney—was the first commercial arcade video game.
“Few records and materials still exist from Nutting Associates, so these rare artifacts help paint a fuller picture of the company that first introduced coin-operated video games,” says Jeremy Saucier, assistant vice president for interpretation and electronic games. “The materials will prove invaluable to scholars and researchers who want to study the earliest days of the video game industry, and they will help the museum to better tell this important story in future exhibits
Nutting Associates formed in 1966 after founder Bill Nutting acquired the patent for EDEX Teaching Machines’ Knowledge Computer—a multiple choice, question-and-answer machine. Redesigned a year later as Nutting’s Computer Quiz, it went on to be the first arcade game believed to run on solid state electronics. Nutting Associates followed this with the launch of Computer Space in 1971, a game inspired by the 1962 mainframe computer game Spacewar! Although Computer Space wasn’t considered a commercial success, it acted as a blueprint for the coin-operated video games that followed.
“While little remembered today, Bill Nutting was a bold entrepreneur, and Nutting Associates changed the video game landscape,” says librarian, researcher, and blogger Alex Smith who compiled and donated the materials. “The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games is the preeminent institution preserving and interpreting the history of the electronic games industry, and I am delighted that they will be maintaining this collection for future generations.”
The collection includes more than 130 original photographs and color slides documenting work at the company and rare on-location photographs of Computer Space, as well as Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck’s 1971 space shooter Galaxy Game (the first two arcade video games ever produced); product marketing; trade show materials, and a company scrapbook from the late 1960s. Also included are rare circuit board schematics and wiring diagrams for Computer Space.
The materials strengthen The Strong’s unparalleled holdings of materials related to coin-operated video games, such as the Atari Coin-Op Divisions Collection, and complements its holdings of Nutting Associates arcade video games, such as Computer Space (1971), Computer Space Ball (1973), Table Tennis (1973), and Two-Player Computer Space (1973).
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.