Game equipment that depends upon electrical energy for use of players who wish to play one of these games, is sometimes called "Electronic Games". The electrical energy can be provided by a standard "flashlight" battery or by plugging the equipment into a wall outlet. Because many electronic games in the last 30 years use video devices as playing surfaces, some people refer to these games as "Video Games". In addition, since most of these same games are based upon computer chip technology, some people call these "Computer Games". There are eight types of these games.
The Museum collection contains some games of these types. Battery Operated table games began to appear about the 1930s and continues to be produced to some degree today. Mainframe Computer games have their roots in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The 1970s saw the introduction of many Video Arcade Games. Further technological development of these latter games evolved into specialized stand-alone Television Gaming Consoles by the early 1970s. These latter devices were in effect early types of microcomputers.
With the development of stand-alone gaming consoles, Microcomputers for home use - complete with programmed games -began to make an appearance in the late 1970s. About the same time Handheld Computer Games (example photo above left) began to appear in the marketplace. Finally specialized microcomputers Electronic Game Machines with elaborate graphic and sound capacity began to appear in the 1980s and are still evolving along with computer technology. Internet Gaming worldwide is a common occurrence today.
A major reference about all of these games is Van Burham, Supercade: a visual history of the videogame age 1917-1984, MIT Press, 2001.
The following is a list of the types of these games. To find out more about each type of game and to see examples from the Museum collection, click on one of these. Note: While the Museum has a number of electronic games in the collection, not all of these are included at this time, and so some types are not "clickable"!
Contemporary Electronic Game Machines