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New exhibit on history of video games opening up in Boston (PR)

Shard

XBLAnnoyance
PRESS RELEASE: New Exhibit Focuses On History Of Video Games
Press release supplied by Games Press 09:25 (GMT) 30/10/2007

BOSTON, Mass. - October 29, 2007 - The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Economic Adventure Gallery is hosting an engaging, interactive exhibit on the history of video games this fall. “Video Games Evolve: A Brief History from Spacewar! to MMORPGs” examines the video-game industry’s roots, which are firmly planted in New England. The exhibit, which is free, runs though January.

“This is a wonderful exhibit not only for video game lovers, but for anyone who wants to know how science, technology, and art come together to form an industry,” said Dr. Peter Raad, Executive Director of The Guildhall at SMU.

The gaming revolution began across the Charles River at MIT, where the first non-commercial interactive video game, “Spacewar!”, was born in 1962. About a decade later, Magnavox released the first commercial video-game console, “Odyssey,” which was created by New Hampshire resident Ralph Baer. In addition to enjoying a “Spacewar!” simulation, visitors can examine an enlarged reproduction of Baer’s prototype notes, as well as an early Odyssey console.

If guests are interested in a more hands-on experience, they can play classic 1980 arcade games like “Donkey Kong,” “Ms. Pac Man,” “Frogger” or “Space Invaders.” In addition to being able to play these games for free, visitors can admire the sleek fiberglass console of “Computer Space,” an early 1970s arcade game.

The exhibit also offers a look at the evolution of the home-gaming console, a timeline of video-game history, and an in-depth look at the motion-capture process (a key animation tool in modern video-game production). The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, a leading education center for digital-game development, loaned several three-dimensional sculptures of creatures that were used to develop animations.

In addition to examining the past, the exhibit also offers an enticing look at modern-day games, including “Star Wars Galaxies,” the “Immune Attack” educational game, the virtual reality of “Second Life,” and massive, multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like “World of Warcraft.”

The exhibit is part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Economic Adventure, an interactive educational designed to teach middle- and high-school students how New England’s improved living standards are reliant upon innovation, which leads to advances in productivity. The exhibit is open from Monday through Friday, from 1:00-4:00pm.

About the Guildhall at SMU

The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University is the premier graduate video game education program in the US. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are run by industry veterans. The program has a 95 percent placement rate with more than 165 graduates working at 70 of the leading video game studios around the world. The program offers a Master’s degree in Interactive Technology in Video Game Development and a graduate level Professional Certificate.
 

DDayton

(more a nerd than a geek)
Shard said:
In addition to being able to play these games for free, visitors can admire the sleek fiberglass console of “Computer Space,” an early 1970s arcade game.

"an early 1970s arcade game"

...

How about "the first arcade video game"?
 
This is the same exhibit that was at the museum of Science & Industry here in Chicago about two years ago. It's pretty cool, although for being in a museum it dismisses large periods of time (early 90's are really skipped over) and entire companies (NEC).
 

DDayton

(more a nerd than a geek)
Superblatt said:
This is the same exhibit that was at the museum of Science & Industry here in Chicago about two years ago. It's pretty cool, although for being in a museum it dismisses large periods of time (early 90's are really skipped over) and entire companies (NEC).

How does it cover Atari? I ask as the press release seems to fall into the "Ralph Baer was king" line of thinking, which seems to completely downplay the importance of Nolan Bushnell in the history of video games. Baer was ONE of the fathers of video games (predated by the MIT guys, that research scientist who developed the early tennis game on an oscilloscope (Willy Higinbotham), and perhaps a few others), but Nolan Bushnell is the guy who got them out into the public eye.

I mean, I love Ralph Baer, but there seems to be an odd trend towards overly hyping his work and downplaying Atari.
 
DavidDayton said:
How does it cover Atari? I ask as the press release seems to fall into the "Ralph Baer was king" line of thinking, which seems to completely downplay the importance of Nolan Bushnell in the history of video games. Baer was ONE of the fathers of video games (predated by the MIT guys, that research scientist who developed the early tennis game on an oscilloscope (Willy Higinbotham), and perhaps a few others), but Nolan Bushnell is the guy who got them out into the public eye.

I mean, I love Ralph Baer, but there seems to be an odd trend towards overly hyping his work and downplaying Atari.

If I remember correctly, the general progression is:

King Ralph Baer and the Brown Box
King Atari
King Nintendo
King Sony
Ignore Present Day

To be entirely honest, I was disappointed with the historical viewpoints of the show. If you want to go and see the "stuff" then go. It was worth it see a Computer Space machine and some other stuff I'd never seen in person. But in regards to the history, it's pretty warped. I'm a collector who truly knows his gaming lineage and am almost sure this was not put together by a bunch of other collectors. This may seem obvious, but is worth pointing out.

Think about it.

Meterologists are experts on the weather
Physicians are experts on the human body
Gaming collectors are experts on the history of video games

I'm not 100% sure I'm right, but it almost definitely seems that this floating show was put together by people with different expertise. That's ok and all, just don't expect total fairness and accuracy as you walk through it.

Here's a link to some PR from the Chicago Show. It seems they've renamed it now for Boston

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=8014
 

DDayton

(more a nerd than a geek)
Superblatt said:
King Ralph Baer and the Brown Box

You know what I hate about this? Ralph Baer might be a nice guy, but he's a minor historical footnote when it comes to games. Yes, it's neat to see he had stuff on the market first, but Thomas Edison had the first films on the market and we aren't running around calling HIM the father of the movie industry.

Ralph Baer is important primarily because odds are that Nolan Bushnell ripped off the idea of Pong from Baer's exhibition at a trade show. The fact is, though, that Baer's box failed miserably BEFORE Bushnell got his stuff to market. Bushnell managed to better market and run a company designing a game.

This is as bad as talking about how great Steve Jobs was to home computers...
 
*sigh* Should have been in Seattle or San Francisco. Boston is lame.

athf_boston.jpg
 
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