Collection Development Strategy

The William A. Higinbotham Game Studies Collection (WHGSC) at Stony Brook University Libraries has revisited its existing mission in order to assess future collection goals. This re-evaluation has been prompted by a number of factors.

First, the goal to raise the profile of Brookhaven National Laboratory’s 1958 analog computer simulation “Tennis For Two” has been realized. The game was exhibited at the New York Historical Society Museum in 2015-2016 and will become part of The Strong National Museum of Play’s “eGameRevolution” permanent exhibition. Curatorial and documentation efforts influenced the game’s transfer from a federal research laboratory to a publicly-accessible institution. Scholarly articles, book chapters, and a short film on the history of the game have been published.

Second, the mission has evolved from a split investment in a hardware/software and print collection to an exclusively print collection. Maintaining hardware and software proved difficult to support given the challenges of: storage space, hardware maintenance, access, and budget constraints.

This revised mission is more sustainable, highly focused in scope, and conducive to serve the research community invested in the historical study of electronic games.

April 2016

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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