First Folio and Video Game Art

me-prosperoI’ve always been a big fan of William Shakespeare.  Visiting the Globe Theater in London was a highlight of that trip.   I like the bard so much that in the early 1990s, I had a costume party for his birthday with a “dress as your favorite Shakespearean character” theme.  That’s me there on the right, dressed as Prospero from “The Tempest.”  The costume started with a mustache to match the beard, but it kept falling off whenever I had something to drink.

Since I’m a fan of Shakespeare’s work, you can probably imagine how excited I was when Amelie told me that Florida International University’s Kendall campus is showing Shakespeare’s First Folio at the Frost Museum.

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The Frost Museum is a four story exhibition hall with multiple exhibits going on at all times.   This nifty globe is right in front, and from a distance, I thought for a moment that it might be one of the many versions of Sfera con Sfera that is out in the world.

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Until February 27th, the fourth floor of the Frost museum is home to an original 1623 edition of the First Folio.   This is a national traveling exhibition organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The book will be displayed in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.  When the book reaches Tulane University,  New Orleans will reportedly celebrate with a jazz funeral for Shakespeare.

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The First Folio was published seven years after Shakespeare’s death, and it contains 36 of the Bard’s plays.  (The Frost museum website says that it contains eighteen plays.  I’m curious about the discrepancy.  Perhaps older printings of the First Folio didn’t have all 36?)

On exhibit, it is stored in a temperature (and probably humidity) controlled case.    Photographs were allowed as long as you used no flash and as long as you didn’t actually touch the glass.

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The book on display is opened to the “To be, or not to be” soliloquy from Hamlet.  You can see it there, in the bottom-left part of this image.  I am incredibly fond of the old spellings of things, like queftion and fleepe.  However, that may just be because I need more fleepe.

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While Shakespeare’s First Folio will be gone after February 27th, the Art of Video Games exhibit will be sticking around until mid-April.  Organized by the Smithsonian American Art museum, this exhibit looks back at “the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies.”   Plus it shows a history of all the game consoles, from the Atari 2600 and Colecovision all the way up to modern gaming systems.

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It was especially interesting to see this through Amelie’s eyes-  she’s about five years younger than me, and she didn’t reach the US until the mid-80s, so her first video games were not quite the same as my first video games.

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Of course this is where most of my favorite games lived during middle and high school- the Commodore 64.  I had a C128, but I ran it in C64 mode almost all of the time.  I was always a one-button-joystick sort of guy.  I have an incredibly difficult time with the newfangled game systems that have two sticks, a directional pad, four buttons, and two triggers.  Get off my lawn, you over-complicated controllers!

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There were other nice exhibits in the Frost, but those two were the most interesting to me.  I shall wrap up this post with a picture of Amelie playing Secret of Monkey Island.  Those old adventure-quest games were fun, weren’t they?

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Should you wish to see the First Folio or the Art of Video Games, know that the Frost Museum is free and open to the public.  The address is and the hours are 10-5 Tuesday-Saturday, 12-5 Sunday, and closed Mondays and most holidays.

What was your first video game?  What was your favorite?

6 thoughts on “First Folio and Video Game Art

  1. Bunny R

    I asked Sean if he’d be interested in going to see the video game art exhibit. He said he owns an Atari 2600 and a Commodore 64, so he doesn’t need to travel all the way to Miami to see them. However, if there was a PDP-1 that played Space War, he’d be willing to make the trip.

    I notice you’re going to see Bernadette Peters in April. I’ll watch for you. My seat is in the nosebleed section, Left Balcony. But I generally bring binoculars.

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  2. A jazz funeral sounds interesting! :O The older I get, the more I enjoy museums, and it seems like museum exhibits are getting better and better, too. I wanted to see the video game one when it was at the Smithsonian but I’m lazy. Glad you got to see it so I can live vicariously through you! lol. Ian and I went to the Muscarelle Museum at W&M when they had a Leonardo da Vinci exhibit and it was fascinating. Williamsburg is kind of plopped between the bigger cities of Norfolk and Richmond, where LOTS of museums are, so I don’t get to go to as many as I’d like because of the travel time. Colonial Williamsburg has a couple museums but they’re usually pretty similarly themed, y’know? So it’s not as intriguing. It’s not like they have VIDEO GAMES OF THE COLONIAL ERA!!!111one, hahahaha.

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  3. OH, and since you asked: my first video game that I remember was Sonic the Hedgehog on Sega Genesis. But I played my cousin’s Nintendo before that when I was at her house. We were big fans of California Games and I could never get my roller skater successfully over the sidewalk crack. I’ve always been a noob! lol!

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  4. My first was Super Mario Brothers on Nintendo.

    My favorite? Gee, that’s hard! I really loved Shining Force II (we didn’t have Shining Force). I also really loved Super Columns – both for Sega Genesis. For Playstation (1!) I really loved some sort of monster raising/fighting game…omg what was it called!?

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