SIGCIS 2010 Workshop Papers

Name:Petrina Foti

Institutional Affiliation:Smithsonian National Museum of American History


Paper Type: Traditional

Paper Title:Museums and the Material Culture of Video Games

Paper Abstract: The Computers Collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has a growing interest in the history of computer games because, from a material culture standpoint, video games offer a tangible way to collect and exhibit software. From the early days of mainframe computers until today, computer gaming has played a role in the history of computing. However, there has been times when, independent of the general computer hardware advances, game creation has led to the development of specialized hardware for custom game systems, starting with the development of the video game console during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The “Brown Box,” a television game prototype, and subsequent early video game consoles allowed computer gaming to become accepted as part of mainstream society at a time when computer programming was still mainly executed by large institutions and small groups of computer hobbyists. From that point onward, video game history can be seen as a process of developing custom game systems and then reincorporating those advances into mainstream computer history, as can be seen with the “Brown Box,” Deep Blue, Nintendo Game Boy and the Nintendo Wii.