How do you love us? Let’s count the ways.

Written by  //  May 2, 2014  //  At the Museum, Newsletters  //  No comments

How do you love us? Let’s count the ways.


Our volunteers love DGM; they show up on the First Saturday every month – and plenty of other times – to keep the museum running, and they also do tasks from home like editing, coding, design and layout. Time is precious, and they give us time. But without the people who give us money, we couldn’t survive.

Last year we set a goal of doubling the number of monthly supporters and we succeeded! This includes people who use monthly payroll deductions (Thanks, Patrick! You were the first!), and people who send $5/month or more through PayPal or their bank’s bill pay. There are other ways people support us, like the anonymous benefactor who nominated us to Perforce’s giving program. People who work at Microsoft or Google can volunteer at DGM and the companies pay us for their time! And many companies match donations to DGM – one matched generous donation to the Adopt-a-Game program this year has covered almost all our conservation needs for the next year. Does your company offer a matching program or a direct-to-charity payroll deduction? If so, please keep us in mind. We’re looking forward to meeting new volunteers at NetApp and Microsoft’s volunteer fairs in the next two months – stop by and say hello!

Judith Haemmerle, Executive Director

Events Are Coming!


Open house

After almost a year in our own space, our schedules and events planning have changed quite a bit. We’re open every Saturday from 11 to 4, and even though we’re in a small space dedicated to care for our collections, we still love it when people come by to chat about games and game preservation. We’ve dedicated the “First Saturday” of every month to “Museum Care.” Volunteers learn proper artifact handling procedures and how to enter items into our publicly accessible database. There are electronic things to repair and test, an exhibit to set up, and basics like cleanup. It’s a good way to learn about how museums operate, hang out with great people, and talk about games, not to mention pizza for lunch!

Atari Party is being held at the Sunnyvale Library on June 14, from 10 to 4. No admission fee, lots of consoles and games, and even arcade games! Watch the library site or check next month here for more information – but save the date. Al Alcorn, creator of PONG!, will be speaking, and you’ll have an opportunity to play the Atari Cocktail Table Pong we introduced in our last newsletter.

We’re making plans to take the Cocktail Table Pong to CalExtreme on July 13-15 in Santa Clara, along with a version of Pong that we bet you’ve never played. More details to follow.

Also, new work party/meeting schedules are in the works. Our planning and events team meets monthly, currently on the third Tuesday night – email us for more information if you’d like to be involved planning and hosting events. We hope to have an exhibit up in the entry room within the next couple of weeks, too, so come by!

We’re not going to Maker Faire this year. To keep in the spirit of Making, we wrote a proposal for a great show focused on indie games made by 1-3 person teams, including information about how to make games yourself (we even had 2000 Steam keys to hand out to visitors for one of the games!) but it looks like Maker Faire cut all the museum-related exhibits this year. We’re sorry we won’t be able to see all the good friends we usually meet there – Santa Clara isn’t too far away, so stop by and say hello.

We’re tentatively planning some evening events like tagging and accessioning. Got anything you’d like to see happening? Drop us a line.

Rocky’s Boots and Robot Odyssey


Rocky's Boots

If you asked any gamer – child or adult – if they’d like to spend a while with a game that taught Boolean Functions, you’d probably get a look of complete disbelief. But that’s exactly what Warren Robinett and Leslie Grimm of The Learning Company offered with Rocky’s Boots in 1982. This award winning classic taught how to design circuits using logic gates like AND, OR and NOT gates and flip-flops. If you correctly programmed a machine to selectively kick out the required colored shapes and scored 24 points, you were rewarded by seeing Rocky, an 8-bit raccoon, do a happy dance. And, in fact, it’s fun!

Rocky’s Boots has a special place in the history of DGM. It was the first computer game played by two of DGM’s founders, Ben and Judith, who discovered it at a display at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. It was clear from that day that Ben would go on to be a programmer. (He did).* And that’s why their original copy of the game was the first artifact accessioned into the DGM collection, numbered 2010.001.001.

There’s a great article in Slate called The Hardest Computer Game of All Time which is about the sequel to Rocky’s Boots, Robot Odyssey. It is an extraordinarily difficult game, combining the logic circuits of Rocky’s Boots with programmable robots, mazes, and pre-programmed chips that must be analyzed.

Both Rocky’s Boots and Robot Odyssey are now abandonware and can be downloaded from Abandonia. You’ll need DOSBox or some other way of slowing your computer to run them; there are instructions on the site. And just for fun, we’ve scanned the manuals. Give them a try – but don’t say we didn’t warn you!

* Judith just kept being Ben’s mother, teaching science, and buying a ridiculous number of computer games.

Volunteer Spotlight


Display device

This month’s volunteers are: your old tech. We’re looking for a few cheap display devices to use as small non-interactive video players. Conveniently, there’s a lot of them around – old touch phones and tablets. If you’ve got an old smartphone or tablet you no longer use, or know someone with one, please consider donating it to us. They are great in exhibits for showing games that don’t run on anything else or where we have insufficient space for a larger display.

We also have a shortage of wi-fi enabled laptops that we can use for database entry. Our cheerful and friendly volunteers can usually be pried from their games to pick up around the Bay Area – or you can use it as a convenient excuse to come visit.

This Month’s Trivia Questions


What game-inspired song went to #9 in the US charts in 1982, and who recorded it?

Watch our website for the answers next month!

Last Month’s Trivia Answers


What game combines logic gate symbols and a dancing raccoon?

If you’ve read the rest of this newsletter, you’ll know the answer is Rocky’s Boots!

Leave a Comment


comm comm comm