To further the WHGSC’s mission of collecting and documenting all manner of game related artifacts, certain objects are placed on display in the Main Library’s central reading room so that the SBU community can directly experience specific materials from our collection.

In the 2010 Summer Session, students enrolled in CCS/DIA 396 Game History were given a curatorial project as their final assignment. Working in two teams, one group curated a display cabinet devoted to dedicated handheld electronic games. The other group curated a “material time-line” for game console storage media (e.g., game cartridges, cards, and optical discs). The students had to prepare each artifact, construct text cards to accompany each exhibition, and develop a curatorial strategy to rationalize the display of their objects. For example, students working on the “material time-line” insisted that instruction manuals and boxes where crucial to the history they wanted to convey as they felt that such ephemera helped to create a context for the viewer. Also, students had to explain what individual game titles ought to represent each game console. Working on and through artifacts the students simultaneously addressed challenges and problems of game canonicity.

Future curatorial projects in CCS/DIA 396 Game History may include exhibitions on: game controllers, early videogame paperback books, marketing tie-ins, and first games for consoles (ex: the first 8 games for the Atari VCS or the first 18 games for the Nintendo NES).

CCS/DIA 396 Game History, taught by Prof. Raiford Guins, is offered every Fall and is capped at 30 students. Prerequisite: CCS 101 or ARH 207/DIA 207; Satisfaction of DEC B or DEC D. Satisfies DEC H.

Photo credit: Hélène Volat

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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