Last night I got invited to an event sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin, Center for American History to explore ideas related to the academic study of video game history, development and design. The event was full of video game luminaries including Richard Garriott, Warren Spector, George Sanger and Steve Jackson among many distinguished others.
As you might imagine, getting about 50 freewheeling game designers together can be pretty entertaining but Bill Bottorff (from Austin Business Computers, Inc.) and Don Carleton (from the Center for American History) kept the event going.
One issue discussed was the preservation of video game ephemera and digital assets related to the history of the game industry. Richard Garriott (pictured below) talked about his history in video games and even brought a few items for show and tell.
Among some of the items for show and tell are one of Garriott’s original Apple computers that he used to develop many games (he has a running one in his office to this day) and the roll of paper tape on top of the Apple is a working copy of his first game Dungeons and Dragons I.
George Sanger also spoke, played some recorded music and was very entertaining, if not a bit surreal.
George passed around some his personal keepsakes, including this test cartridge from the Son of M.U.L.E. game. (I fondly remember M.U.L.E. myself, it’s probably one of the best games I ever played.)
It’s hoped that this is the first of many initiatives between UT Austin and the the video game community, look for more information in the future.
Cool, maybe I’ll eventually find a use for the big box of early PC and Commodore64 era games I have. Some still in shrink wrap.