To further the WHGSC’s mission of collecting and documenting all manner of game related artifacts, certain objects were placed on display in the Main Library’s central reading room so that the SBU community could 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.

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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