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Stanford Magazine covers Preserving Virtual Worlds

Stanford Magazine, the publication of the Stanford Alumni Association, provides a nice piece in its November/December 2008 issue on the Preserving Virtual Worlds project.  Under the title "Saving Worlds: Preserving the Digital and Virtual," neatly summarizes the project and its work, with quotations from Henry Lowood (me) and Beth Dulabahn of the Library of Congress, as well as a couple of nice photos.  By the way, the workshop described in the article was "Preserving Knowledge in Virtual Worlds," put on as part of Media-X' Summ

Doug Wilson's HTGG projects now in Second Life

Back in 2003, Doug Wilson prepared two video loops for the "Fictional Worlds, Virtual Experiences" show I curated with Casey Alt for the Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford.  This was the first of the exhibitions the project has prepared over the years.  More recently, the project has been active in Second Life, particularly through the Life-Squared project with Lynn Hershmann and the "Preserving Virtual Worlds" project.

All Style: Early Psygnosis Games and Box Art

Looking through boxes and boxes of games all day, certain covers and companies begin to stick out and rise above the tide of their more "normal" and "artisticly void" contemporaries.  One such company, Psygnosis, is generally always a pleasure to behold with its colorful complex cover illustrations and equally compelling screenshots. Founded in Liverpool in 1984 by Ian Hetherington and Jonathan Ellis, Psygnosis was known for its intense graphical presentation and technical excellence.  The company's logo, a white and purple owl head, became a hallmark of the first generation Playstation and was attached to several seminal titles including the WipeOut series, Destruction Derby, and the less famous Colony Wars.

Financial Woes

In thinking about what to post, I was debating many different topics, most having to do with some company's history or maybe a specific box motif from the mid-80s. Then I opened a storage container that seemed to crystalize the post-to-be in my mind and tie in two very important trends from the modern newscape. The first being the impending collapse of the capitalist system, and the second, the rise in videogame sales.

Avatar. The Experience of Virtual Worlds

I am happy to announce that Avatar. An Experience into the Virtual World will open on October 10 2008 at the Museo Tridentino di Art Naturali in Trento, Italy. Curated by Carlo Maiolini, Avatar is a major event dedicated to the art and culture of virtual worlds. If you're lucky enough to travel to Northern Italy this Fall you will find a piece of both How Got Game and the Stanford Humanities Lab in the exhibition. In fact, I had the opportunity to contribute to the production of Avatar together with many Italian researchers, journalists, and curators.

More Nintendo Goodness

Although I have a good deal of posts in the pipe that are more edifying to the history of video games, it's going to be a little bit longer.  So in the mean time I figure I'd share with you one of my favorite Nintendo finds of late.  The 1990 Nintendo Power Game Calendar, rife with daring, intrigue, and terrible looking 3D monstrocities. Won't you take a look?

Update: the Archiving Virtual Worlds video collection

One of the resources we have created in the Preserving Virtual Worlds project is the Archiving Virtual Worlds video collection, hosted by our partner, The Internet Archive.  This collection is a collaborative effort of the How They Got Game Project project team in the Stanford University Libraries and the Internet Archive, as part of the Preserving Virtual Worlds project funded by the National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program (NDIIPP) of the U

Errant Nintendo Licensing: Parties, Cereal, and School

Working through the collections provides some rather weird challenges to the discipline of library science.  An entire segment of the collection is devoted to items termed as realia, basically commercial products tied to video game concepts or characters.  They don't fit on shelves very well, and the exact means of how to preserve these detritus of commercial culture are fraught with an internal debate about their validity to humanity. I think everything should be remembered or recorded fastidiously, but then again I get a thrill out of looking at old Nintendo marketing crud, and I work in a library. That said, these items make my inner child awaken anew and crave some tasty morsels of the past.

The Beginnings of Sierra Part 2

In the first installment, we looked at the initial crop of Sierra text-adventure titles, received a good deal of response thanks to Kotaku, and garnered a good deal of positive feedback.  This post continues with discussion of the further early success of the company, and reveals some more rather obscure games that helped them putter along until they developed the first modern graphical adventure game. Hope you'll take a look-see.

The Beginnings of Sierra Part 1

With the impending demise of the iconic publisher Sierra, I figured it would fruitful to look around the office and see what items I could find that relate to the publisher/developer's beginnings.  It's interesting that once I decided to keep an eye out for a specific company, I realized that I had a lot of things I could relate to it. Makes me wonder how much I will regret not photographing absolutely everything I come across, since most of it ties directly to some potential theme.
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