STS 145/HPS 163.

History of Computer Game Design:

Technology, Culture, Business

Winter 2005

Source: Softline 2 (March 1983). Front cover.
Instructor: Henry Lowood  Office: M 9.30-11; W 2.30-4, Green Library 321C
TA: Waynn Lue. Graders: Douglas Wilson & Galen Davis

T 2.15-3.30; Th 2.15-4.05

Cummings Art Building, Art2

The Gameroom

There is a laboratory for this course, the "Game Lab," located in the Media-Microtext Center in Green Library. We are planning to have one each of the following machines available: Atari 2600 video console (this machine is a bit fragile), Vectrex Game Machine, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) video console, Nintendo GameCube, Playstation 2, X-Box. Possibly, we will add a DOS-capable PC; a Windows-capable PC or two will also be available in the Media-Microtext Center.

The Library is building a selective collection of computer and video game titles. Several dozen titles are now available in the Media-Microtext Center. A partial list of most of the titles is available, and of course all titles held by Stanford can be found when you do searches in Socrates, the Library's on-line catalog.

The Library has acquired the Stephen M. Cabrinety Collection in the History of Microcomputing. This is a historical collection of software, and it includes several thousand game titles. The collection is housed in the Department of Special Collections. The best source of information about this collection is the archival finding aid, which can be found here: Note, however, that only about 1/3 of the game software titles are listed by individual title. Most of the indexing is still at the box level, not the title level. A somewhat older listing of game titles in the collection is still available, which includes selected scans of some documentation, box covers, and other printed materials, as well as some information about the colector.

The Library is also acquiring archival collections in the history of game development. An example is Richard Bartle's papers relating to the original MUD game at the University of Essex. Information about these collections can be found either via finding aids or Socrates, as with other archival collections, as soon as processing is completed.

Of course, many other games, demonstrations, and emulations are available via the Web. Here are a few examples:

A Java simulation of the original PDP-1 version of Spacewar.

jPong, a Java implementation of the classic Pong game

FreeArcade (Java arcade-style games.)

A Java applet demonstrating John Conway's Game of Life.

Web Kingdom, a Hammurabi-style resource management game.

A free version of the "classic" version of Sim City is available as Sim City Classic Live! Registration is required.

Eliza, the automated therapist, either as a Java applet that faithfully implements Weizenbaum's original Eliza program or via telnet.

Various downloads and resources for Adventure at the Interactive Fiction Archive. Just Adventure calls itself "the Official Adventure Site of the New Millennium" and offers resources, reviews, and links to many adventure-style games. Also Prof. Eric Roberts from our own C.S. Department has a version online that you can access by logging onto any elaine machine and typing "~eroberts/newadv" (no quotation marks).

Download and explore Zork: Zork I (PC download or Mac download). Zork II (PC download) and Zork III (PC download).

Try a MUD (MUDs to try out from the MUSE site)

The Atari Battlezone page describes the history of the game and includes various "downloadables.".

Electronic Arts has made a revised version of "classic" SimCity available via the Web. Registration is required. Click on Classic Live! on this page to get there.

Blizzard provides demo versions of the original Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft on its website, as well as demos and trailers for the later versions of these titles.

Shareware and software patches for Doom are available from the Doom Archives provided by Id Software.

Demos of Quake 3 Arena for Macintosh, Windows, or Linux are available for installation on your computer. A demo program of Quake 2 and shareware version of Quake 1.06 are also available from Id Software.

Henry Lowood, last rev. 1 Jan. 2003