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

Library and Other Resources

Available for purchase in the Bookstore:

Brad King and John Borland, Dungeons and Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture. McGraw-Hill, 2003.

Barry Atkins, More Than a Game: The Computer Game as Fictional Form. Manchester Univ. Press, 2003.

All readings for the class are listed in the schedule of lectures.



Other Bibliographies and Timelines on topics covered in the class:

"Journal Articles: Academic Research into Computer Games." Includes sections on: computer games and education, media and cultural studies perspectives on games, medical research into games, gender and computer games, psychological and developmental issues, and studies on computer games and violence. URL:

Gamegen: The Online Genealogy Project. Developed by the How They Got Game Project for the "Fictional Worlds: Virtual Experiences" exhibit at the Cantor Center. If you would like to add to the timeline, please contact Casey Alt.

"Computer Gaming Bibliography," comp. Matthew Southern, et al. Part of the Digiplay Initiative. URL:

"Timeline: Video Games," by Amanda Kudler, URL:

"Electric Escape: The Atari Timeline," by Robert A. Jung, URL:

"Bibliography on Machine Learning in Strategic Game Playing," comp. Johannes Fürnkranz. URL:

"History of Computer Graphics (CG)", a timeline by Terrence Masson for the Visual Effects Resource Center. URL:

Research Journals

Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research (New online journal. European focus to game studies; topics are multi-disciplinary.)

International Journal of Intelligent Games and Simulation (web-based publication of the University of Wolverhampton UK and
The Society for Modeling and Simulation International)

Journal of Virtual Environments (Online journal published since 1996. Also multi-disciplinary; many articles offer perspectives drawn from the social sciences, dealing with virtual communities, online behavior, etc. formerly: Journal of MUD Research)

Journal of Computer Game Design (Founded and edited by Chris Crawford, and mostly written by him from 1987 to 1996, the last three volumes under the title Interactive Entertainment Design.)

Conference Proceedings / Computer Game Developers Conference. Available from 1997 on in Green Library, some vols in print (GV1469.15 .C65), others on CD-ROM.

Game Developer (also see Gamasutra for individual articles). Green Library. QA76.76 .D47 G35. Sept. 2000-. Earlier issues available on CD-ROM (on order].

Periodicals as Primary Sources

PC Gamer; Computer Gaming World; Computer Games; Gamer's Republic; Next Generation; Game Developer. This is a very selective group of the major magazines that currently cover videogames and computer games. Since the late 1970s, dozens if not hundreds of magazines devoted to video and computer games have been published. Many of these are not held in libraries, but some private collections have been digitized and put up on the web. Examples include Antic (Atari), Compute! (Commodore), A.N.A.L.O.G. (Atari) and The Journal of Computer Game Design.

Computer Games has created an archival site for the backfile content of this magazine.

IE Magazine: The Newspaper of the Interactive Entertainment Industry (formerly Gameweek) An online trade publication. There are several others, both elecronic and printed.

Here are a few relevant titles held in the Stanford University Libraries: Byte (1975-1998) Math-C.S. Library; Creative Computing (1974-1985) SAL; Game Developer (1994-) Green Library; Recreational Computing (1979-1981) Math-C.S. Library; Simulation & Gaming (1990-) Green Library.


(Before you begin, here is some guidance on "Using Primary Sources on the Web": Videogame Theory. Good collection of links to conferences, researchers, other sites.

Game Culture: Thinking About Computer Games

Game Research: The Art, Business and Science of Computer Games " . . . this site gives an overview of research, news and development in the computer games area."

Gamespot (CNet)

Gameslice, ed. by Geoff Keighley. "Behind the Scenes of the Game Industry." (Ziff-Davis Media)

Gamasutra (IGDA and CMP).

Terra Nova is a BLOG covering "MMORPGs, toy worlds, social worlds, and other realms of emergent collective reality."

Digiplay Initiative

Moby Games is an excellent source of information about specific games and designers. Look here first to find out who designed a game, when and by whom it was published, credits, box covers, technical specifications, etc..

GameFAQs provides information much like Moby Games, but with better coverage of formats other than computer games, including console, coin-op (arcade), and portable platforms. The discussion boards also have useful information and provide an opportunity to ask for information (but be sure to verify these sources.) is a good source for reviews of videogames, as well as other media, "from respected critics and publications." .

The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers not only lists programmers for games on dozens of platforms, but also provides interviews and articles about early game programmers, in particular.

Media Create provides sales data on Japanese software and game console sales. Much of the information is in Japanese.

Classic Gaming (see museum and section on emulators)

Vintage Gaming Network (emulators)

The Bronze Age Arcade Game Archive [information, including manuals, about arcade games of the 1970s] (arcade and early video games; emulators)

Adventure-Archiv [excellent site devoted to adventure games, with lists, documentation, and other information. NB. Auf deutsch!]

Dennis G. Jerz's "Interactive Fiction" site. Excellent collection of articles, bibliography, and other resources.

Colossal Cave Adventure Page [history and many versions of Adventure]

Web-Grognards (wargames)

The Centre for Advanced Learning Technologies' Encyclopedia, section on games The Visual Simulation Resources

Machine Learning in Games

Conferences and conventions

Game Developers Conference

Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)

Vintage Computer Festival and California Extreme

Other Historical Resources online and offline, serious and popular

Special Collections at Stanford: Cabrinety, Apple History Collection, Mark Weiser papers

J.A.N. Lee's History of Computing website includes some topics related to games

The MUDdex

The MUD FAQs. Part 1. Basic Information about MUDs and MUDding. Part 2. MUD Clients and Servers. Part 3. Basic Information on RWHO and mudwho.

Interactive Fiction Archive (mirror) and The Interactive Fiction Page. This is a mirror site of the excellent ftp server in Germany, which includes a large number of documents about Infocom.

The Dot Eaters: Videogame History 101

Mark J. P. Wolf, "Genre and the Video Game"

Google directory for History of Computers, esp. "Retrocomputing" sections for Atari and Commodore

Atari Gaming Headquarters

Nintendoland, especially the History of Nintendo pages

The Open Directory Project gathers links to sites for specific platforms, such as the Amiga, Atari and Commodore

On Artificial Intelligence/Artificial Life and Games

Artificial Life Games Homepage. Collection of links, downloads, simulators.

Claude E. Shannon, "A Chess-Playing Machine," Scientific American 182 (Feb. 1950): 48-51.

Allen Newell, J. C. Shaw, and H. A. Simon, "Chess-Playing Programs and the Problem of Complexity," IBM Journal of Research and Development 2 (1958): 320-335. Reprinted in Computers and Thought, eds. Edward A. Feigenbaum and Julian Feldman.

Murray S. Campbell, "'An Enjoyable Game': How HAL Plays Chess," from: HAL's Legacy: 2001's Computer as Dream and Reality, ed. David G. Stork. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996). Available here:

Steve Woodcock, "Game AI: The State of the Industry," Game Developer 2 (Oct. 1998); 3 (Aug. 1999); 4 (Aug. 2000) in two parts.. Available here: ,,;

Also browse through "Games Making Interesting Use of Artificial Intelligence Techniques" (bulletin board) at:

John McCarthy, "Partial Formalizations and the Lemmings Game," at:

Gallery of Images

Last Updated, 5 Jan. 2004. HEL