Nov. 19, 2007

The Guildhall at SMU is part of exhibit
on the history of video games

See a video of Chris Adams, art creation instructor at The Guildhall, explaining motion capture for the exhibit. Also see the exhibit brochure.

BOSTON (SMU) — The Guildhall at SMU  is part of  an engaging, interactive exhibit on the history of video games being hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Economic Adventure Gallery. “Video Games Evolve: A Brief History from Spacewar! to MMORPGs,” which runs through January, examines the video-game industry’s roots, which are firmly planted in New England.

Work from The Guildhall at SMU, the nation’s leading graduate video game development program, includes a video on the program’s motion capture studio along with several three-dimensional sculptures of creatures that were used to develop animations for student produced games.

”This is a wonderful exhibit not only for video game lovers, but for anyone who wants to know how science, technology, and art come together to form an industry,” said Dr. Peter Raad, Executive Director of The Guildhall at SMU.

The gaming revolution began across the Charles River at MIT, where the first non-commercial interactive video game, “Spacewar!”, was born in 1962. About a decade later, Magnavox released the first commercial video-game console, “Odyssey,” which was created by New Hampshire resident Ralph Baer. In addition to enjoying a “Spacewar!” simulation, visitors can examine an enlarged reproduction of Baer’s prototype notes, as well as an early Odyssey console.

Guests who are interested in a more hands-on experience may play classic 1980 arcade games like “Donkey Kong,” “Ms. Pac Man,” “Frogger” or “Space Invaders.” Visitors also can admire the sleek fiberglass console of “Computer Space,” an early 1970s arcade game. The exhibit offers a look at the evolution of the home-gaming console, a timeline of video-game history, and an in-depth look at the motion-capture process (a key animation tool in modern video-game production).

In addition to examining the past, the exhibit also offers an enticing look at modern-day games, including “Star Wars Galaxies,” the “Immune Attack” educational game, the virtual reality of “Second Life,” and massive, multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like “World of Warcraft.”

The exhibit is part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Economic Adventure, an interactive educational designed to teach middle- and high-school students how New England’s improved living standards are reliant upon innovation, which leads to advances in productivity.

The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University is the premier graduate video game education program in the US. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are run by industry veterans. The program has a 95 percent placement rate with more than 165 graduates working at 70 of the leading video game studios around the world. The program offers a Master’s degree in Interactive Technology in Video Game Development and a graduate level Professional Certificate.

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