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The Strong museum accepts trove of '70s and '80s Atari artifacts

The Strong museum accepts trove of '70s and '80s Atari artifacts

December 17, 2015 | By Alex Wawro

Video game history buffs, take note: A pair of collectors have donated over 2,000 documents chronicling the design and creation of Atari games in the '70s and '80s to The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

This is especially interesting because it sheds light on how Atari tried to communicate what video games were (and why people should buy them from Atari) at a time when the game industry was very young.

"Atari’s vibrant video game packaging often bridged the gap between the fantastic game worlds that players imagined themselves entering and the abstract and blocky graphics on their video screens,” stated Jeremy Saucier, assistant director of the museum's International Center for the History of Electronic Games, in a press release announcing the new collection. 

“This artwork and documentation, which add to The Strong’s exceptional collection of other materials related to Atari, help us better understand how a gaming pioneer packaged and sold its products to a new video game playing public.“

The museum's new Cort and Barbara Allen Atari Packaging Design Collection (named in honor of its contributors) will showcase packaging and design materials for Atari games like Surround (original cover design seen above), Donkey KongRobotron 2084 and Asteroids. If you're curious to know more about how the Allens collected these artifacts, you can read about it firsthand in this 2011 Gamasutra feature about the game preservation crisis.

The collection will be a part of future displays at the museum, and be made available to historical researchers alongside windfalls of game industry artifacts sourced from both private collectors and long-serving employees of notable companies like BroderbundSSI and Blizzard.

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