Last week I was in San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference, and I had a blast. I need to write more about that soon.
On Friday, I took a day trip down to Mountain View to visit the Computer History Museum, which I had not been to since 2006.
Aside from not having visited since they opened their first major exhibit, I am friends with the senior curator, Dag Spicer, and it was great to finally meet him face to face. I also met up with Allan Alcorn (creator of Pong) there, and we wandered around enjoying the exhibits together. That too is a story for another day.
The CHM is a wonderful place, and the exhibits are top-notch. Just brilliant. No where else can you see the first mouse, the Pong prototype, the Atari 2600 prototype, the Community Memory machine, and so many more legendary artifacts.
I also love it because there are bits and pieces of my work scattered throughout the place.
One of their exhibits on the history of search engines features a TV slideshow that borrows many slides I created for PCWorld back in 2010. The dead giveaway is the slide that features my first ever Internet email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. A VC&G reader tipped me off to this years ago.
I am not mad about this or anything — after all, I borrowed many of those screenshots to begin with. In fact, I find it wonderful and vindicating that parts of my slideshow ended up in a museum.
After I found the slideshow, I began wandering the museum to see if they borrowed any other images from my work.
When I got to the video game section, I saw the scene pictured below, and thought, "Hmm. This looks familiar."
"Oh yeah! They asked if they could use this a few years ago," I thought. I had told them they didn't need my permission, but I wondered if they gave me credit anyway.
I spent the next 15 seconds scanning for a tiny print "Benj Edwards" or something like that on a placard somewhere. I couldn't find it.
Then it hit me — look closely at the very bottom of the image. That black bar stands out:
Yep, it's the iconic VC&G Retro Scan of the Week "tagstrip" (the origins of which can be read about here). CHM staff actually printed it out and included it as part of the image! Holy cow, I was not expecting that.
I'm hoping they did this on purpose as a convenient way to give credit and that it wasn't a weird printing error. If so, my long-running "Retro Scan of the Week" column is now enshrined in one of the best museums in the world.
Little tips of the hat like this make sticking with this thing worthwhile.