November 2013 Newsletter
The Director’s Chair
Got stock? No, not that herd of cattle in the backyard, or the chicken soup on the stove. The other kind. Then you might like to know that DGM can now accept donations other than cash! If you have appreciated stock, you can avoid paying capital gains tax and receive charitable deductions by donating the stock to the DGM. Start planning now for Tax Day and help DGM start our endowment fund. Contact Jeff to learn more.
You can also support DGM by selecting us as your charity on Amazon Smile. Look for "Pick your own charitable organization", type in "Digital Game Museum", and select us from the list that comes up. Amazon will donate 0.5% of every purchase made through Amazon Smile to DGM, and it doesn't cost you anything. Share the "joy" of holiday shopping!
We're going to FurCon 2014! FurCon is a family-friendly 3-day gathering, also known as Further Confusion. It's one of the world's largest anthropomorphic (or "furry") conventions and just celebrated its 15th year. At each convention, they sponsor a charity/non-profit and raise money for it, and we're honored that they chose DGM for this year's charity to tie in with the gaming theme, "Scott Pilgrim Against the World." We're working up a new exhibit for the event, which runs January 16th through 20th in San Jose. Visit their website to learn more, and put it on your calendar. We'll have more details for you next month. See you there!
Judith Haemmerle, Executive Director
Gaming for Science
The big news that hit both the science and game worlds last month was the solution by gaming team of the structure of the Mason-Pfizer monkey virus – a virus found in rhesus monkeys which is similar to the AIDS virus. Understanding its structure may be a critical step to understanding how to create the drugs that will defeat AIDS. And it was a team of gamers that solved it.
The Foldit Contenders Group worked with Foldit, a computer program originally named Rosetta@home and turned into a game by a team of coders at the University of Washington. A demonstration and explanation of how the program works is available on YouTube. A comment there by “ProducShuns” nicely conveys that the same spirit which joins people into guilds can be harnessed for serious scientific research:
I feel like this game is some kind of real life MMO where the final boss is AIDS and everyone in the world is teaming up to beat it.
Although the final solution was found by “mimi,” who prefered to be identified by her user name rather than her real name, she pointed out that her final twist of the protein structure built on the work of the other members of the team, making it truly a group success.
Gaming gets a lot of popular press attention when it is erroneously linked to various tragedies, but less attention when gamers make a positive contribution to the world. Happily, the scientists credit the teams when the papers are published.
If you’re interested in learning more, or discovering what other science-related games exist, there are many options available. No matter what science catches your fancy, there’s probably something out there that has become a target for “citizen science.”
From the Collection: Soraka’s Banana
In an effort to attract interest from players, some game studios now spend massive resources on conventions and giveaways. One of the most prolific studios of these studios is Riot Games, developers of League of Legends.
As of today, Riot has commissioned four life-sized statues of League champions, including Tryndamere, Ryze, Katarina, and Ziggs. They also give away a huge variety of things at their booths, including in-game cosmetic items, buttons, and . . .
. . . this banana.
The banana isn’t as random as it seems. One of League’s champions is Soraka the Starchild, an ex-celestial being with healing powers and a distinctive moon-topped staff. Her staff fires glowing yellow energy arcs shaped like the staff’s topper, which, ingame, look surprisingly like bananas. Soraka’s healing and recovery abilities are perfect for constant long-range harassment, and as a result, many champions have met their untimely demise at the wrong end of a barrage of deadly luminous bananas.
The community of League of Legends is fond of injokes, and Soraka’s bananas quickly became a fan favorite. Riot produced these foam Soraka bananas in response, giving them away side-by-side with Ziggs bombs and Gangplank oranges.
(The oranges are used to cure scurvy. The bombs just explode.)
A game museum must, of course, collect games, but artifacts like this are often just as important as the game itself. It’s difficult to explore the true importance of a game without access to the culture surrounding that game. The Digital Game Museum collects convention swag, advertising, and design materials, among other ephemera, all for the sake of understanding the impact of games on communities and society.
Also we just think they’re awesome.
Ben Wilhelm, Curator
Meet a Volunteer
Without The Volvo, DGM wouldn’t be where it is today – literally. It’s been our faithful carrier since before we became a museum, carrying Judith (and her cat) to Michigan to learn some conservation skills at the Henry Ford, then moving most of our collection back and forth, picking up artifacts, shelving, and supplies. It made the trip to Seattle with our first PAX Prime exhibit and has carried artifacts and equipment to all of the local events we’ve done.
The Volvo was created in the same year as Tetris, released at the same time as King’s Quest and Paperboy. People were playing on the ZX Spectrum, the Amstrad and the Famicon Disk System. It has a 5 speed manual transmission, tinted windows, and an awesome after-market sound system (needed for the trip to Seattle). 1984 was a really good year.
What game console company started out as a leather processing company?
Coleco, originally the Connecticut Leather Company. Did you think of Tandy/Radio Shack? They were also originally a leather company, but they made computers, not consoles. Yes, it was a trick question, but we gave you a clue by featuring the Coleco Combat! console. OK, it wasn’t much of a clue. :)
Which golf game consists entirely of course remakes from “Golf” for the NES?
Golf, the minigame contained in Wii Sports, is derived directly from Nintendo’s original Golf for the NES. In a beautiful callback to their origins, Nintendo re-used all the original Golf courses – remastered, remodeled, and brought up to the graphical standards, but undeniably the same courses.
What is the earliest game known to contain an Easter Egg?
What game features the phrase “A Winner is You”?
Watch our website for the answers next month!