Exclusives

Exclusive Cover Reveal for A History of Video Games in 64 Objects!

 

Photo by Hardik Sharma on Unsplash

If you want to brush up on your video game knowledge or learn more about how video games have transformed over time, A History of Video Games in 64 Objects is the book for you. It documents the change in video games over the years, and discusses the creation and development of these games using sixty-four unique objects. Check out the exclusive cover reveal and excerpt below!

Here’s more about the book from the publisher:

Inspired by the groundbreaking A History of the World in 100 Objects, this book draws on the unique collections of The Strong museum in Rochester, New York, to chronicle the evolution of video games, from Pong to first-person shooters, told through the stories of dozens of objects essential to the field’s creation and development.

Drawing on the World Video Game Hall of Fame’s unmatched collection of video game artifacts, this fascinating history offers an expansive look at the development of one of the most popular and influential activities of the modern world: video gaming.

Sixty-four unique objects tell the story of the video game from inception to today. Pithy, in-depth essays and photographs examine each object’s significance to video game play—what it has contributed to the history of gaming—as well as the greater culture.

A History of Video Games in 64 Objects explains how the video game has transformed over time. Inside, you’ll find a wide range of intriguing topics, including:

  • The first edition of Dungeons & Dragons—the ancestor of computer role-playing games
  • The Oregon Trail and the development of educational gaming
  • The Atari 2600 and the beginning of the console revolution
  • A World of Warcraft server blade and massively multiplayer online games
  • Minecraft—the backlash against the studio system
  • The rise of women in gaming represented by pioneering American video game designers Carol Shaw and Roberta Williams’ game development materials
  • The prototype Skylanders Portal of Power that spawned the Toys-to-Life video game phenomenon and shook up the marketplace
  • And so much more!

A visual panorama of unforgettable anecdotes and factoids, A History of Video Games in 64 Objects is a treasure trove for gamers and pop culture fans. Let the gaming begin!

A History of Video Games in 64 Objects is set to be released on May 29th, 2018. Read on for a sneak peek at the introduction of the book.


INTRO

This book represents ten years of work. A decade ago, The Strong National Museum of Play had just completed a major expansion. We already had a world class collection of dolls, toys, games, and other artifacts of play, but it was obvious that the present and future of play was bound up in the growth of video games. Our museum staff began the work of collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of video games. From a smattering of about a dozen artifacts, The Strong’s collection of materials related to the history of electronic games has now grown to more than 60,000 games and related artifacts and hundreds of thousands of archival materials documenting the growth of electronic gaming over the last half century.

Our work was motivated and guided by two tenets. First, we believed that video games would be the most important medium of the 21st century, just as the novel dominated the 19th century and film and television were the preeminent media of the 20th century. Second, we predicted that historians and other scholars would want to study the rise of video games and their impact on society and culture, both individually and collectively. We have thus tried to expand our collection broadly and deeply, and we have been gratified that already, scholars from all over the world have been coming to The Strong to research the history of electronic games.

In 2009, the museum’s collection had grown large enough for us to establish the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG). In 2015, the museum created the World Video Game Hall of Fame, which annually inducts video games that meet four criteria: icon-status, influence, longevity, and geographical reach. In the first three years of the Hall, 16 games were inducted: Donkey Kong, Doom, Grand Theft Auto III, Halo: Combat Evolved, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, Pac-Man, Pokémon Red and Green, Pong, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, Space Invaders, Street Fighter II, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and World of Warcraft.

This book is a celebration and an exploration of some of the most important items related to the history of video games that are currently at The Strong. We have been able to gather and preserve these materials thanks to the generosity of many donors ranging from industry veterans and game companies to journalists, scholars, collectors, and everyday gamers who have given The Strong materials they have collected over the years. We are deeply grateful to each of these individuals and companies for their contributions to our ongoing preservation of video game history.

Even as we have tried to focus on the history of video games, we have also been cognizant of how video games always exist in relation to the broader culture. That is why in this book we have tried to contextualize the histories, to write something more than an internal history of who created which game. Games arose in relation to broader social, cultural, and technological phenomena, and their development was often tied to deep social, economic, and political trends—such as the military’s investments in computer technology during the Cold War or the social and cultural revolutions that convulsed society during the 1960s and 1970s.

And yet video games do not merely reflect culture and society; they also shape it. Today, as computers pervade our lives, it is worth remembering that it is through playing with games we have become digital natives. Games shape the digital tools we use, condition our willingness to assume the mask of an avatar, and impact how we communicate and compete online, including across geographic and linguistic boundaries. As smart phones proliferate, it is ever more apparent that we are all gamers of some kind, and the mechanics and modes of these games are shaping the way we experience the world.

The objects in this book are not the only ones we could have chosen—in fact there are many items in The Strong’s collection that we regretted leaving out—but we believe these objects most effectively tell the story of electronic games and their impact on our culture. We hope you appreciate as much as we do how games, from the earliest pinball machines to Pong to Pokémon Go, have shaped and will continue to shape how we play for many years to come.