Access to the William A. Higinbotham Game Studies Collection

Location of the Collections

The University Libraries maintains a large catalog of game studies related materials to provide Stony Brook University students and faculty with the latest scholarship defining the field of study. Students of all levels, faculty, and visiting researchers have access to the collections housed within Special Collections, throughout the Main Stacks, in the Game Lab, and on the the collection's webpage.

The WHGSC consists of four interconnected divisions:

1. Special Collections: located on the second floor of the Melville Library, which houses rare and scarce materials. These include original game consoles, game cartridges and optical discs, controllers, rare books on videogames, and videogame magazines from the early 1980s to present.

Archival collections are managed by Special Collections and University Archives. Collections may be consulted on an appointment basis Monday through Friday between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Advance notice is required. Please contact the department to schedule an appointment. 

2. Game Lab: An interactive game laboratory located in the Central Reading Room of the Melville Library. Stony Brook students enrolled in games-related courses within any academic department are able to study-play original games for the Atari 2600, Colecovision, Nintendo (NES), Super Nintendo (SNES), Nintendo 64 (N64), and Sega Genesis in the WHGSC Game Lab. Access is currently restricted to students enrolled in game-related courses within any academic department.We aim to add to our Game Lab collection of “vintage” game consoles in the near future and hope to build a space to house next-generation consoles and their games for student access.

3. Circulating collection: a collection of scholarly game studies texts housed in the Main Stacks of the Melville Library and an online subscription to Games and Culture. The collection can be searched in the library's online catalog.

4. The WHGSC webpage.


William A. Higinbotham

William HiginbothamAfter reading an instruction manual that accompanied a Systron-Donner analog computer, William Alfred Higinbotham was inspired to design Tennis for Two, the first computer game to utilize handheld controllers and to display motion. It was also the first game to be played by general public, in this instance, attendees of “visitors day” at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in 1958. Learn More »

tennis for two

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