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<title>Jewish Play Project</title>
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<li><a href="browse.html?category=people">People</a></li>
<li><a href="browse.html?category=toys">Toys</a></li>
<li><a href="browse.html?category=companies">Companies</a></li>
<li><a href="./timeline.html">Timeline</a></li>
<li><a href="players.html">The Players</a></li>
<li><a href="news.html">News</a></li>
<li><a href="about.html">About</a></li>
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<h1>About the Jewish Play Project</h1>
<h2>The "Play Industries" We Look At</h2>
<p>In the toys and game industries are thought of as separate from pinball and/or videogames. There are solid reasons for that. Pinball in emerged from the coin-op and arcade industries, the same industries(s) that also include vending machines and jukeboxes. The business models and distribution channels are very different and many members of the Toy and Game industries generally don't include them as part of their own industry. Video Games, in some ways overlapping both as they have both home and arcade aspects to them. Play scholars, researchers and historians often look at them equally, as does this website.
<h2>A thumbnail history of the Toy and Game Industry</h2>
<p>In the 1800s, Germany led the world in the production of toys, particularly the state of Bavaria and the city of Nuremberg. Bavaria and Nuremberg had evoloved into hubs of manufacturing initially centered around clockmaking. This industrial capacity grew to encompass a wide range of manufacturing including toys and games. At the time many toys were made of cast-iron or plated tin. While smaller toy and game companies were emerging in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, Germany led the way until the early 1900s.</p>
<p>During World War I, factory lines around the world moved to the production of war materiel. The US and other countires embargoed German goods and some of these embargoes extended beyond the war. During the rise of Germany's National Socialist Party, many Jewish designers, entrepreneurs and inventors saw their companies Aryanized and/or fearing for their lives, left for elsewhere in Europe or the U.S. to start anew. Post World War II, Japan became a leading manufacturer and distributor, but toys and games from the U.S. began to capture the imagination and dollars of consumers both in the U.S. and abroad.</p>
<p>Starting in the Baby Boom years, a combination of factors led to the large U.S. industry. Returning G.I.s with new technical skills wanted to bring those skills, and sometimes even newly available military surplus technology to toys and games. The baby boom saw the birth and growth of the third-party toy and game designer. Last, but not least, the refinement of plastic to a viable material for toys and games all contributed to the growth of the industry in the US. </p>
<<h2>Chicago, the Heart of the Pinball Industry</h2>
<p>In the same way that Nuremberg was a center for toy and game companies due to the manufacturing resources of the town, Chicago was the home for many of the largest and most influential pinball companies, an industry born and bred there. The coin operated game as we know it began to surface in 1930 with Gottlieb's Baffle Ball. Pinball went through ups and down during World War II (due to material and manufacturing shortages) and came roaring back afterwards, only to lose its market in the end to the digital upstarts, the video game cabinets. Today only one major pinball manufacturer, Stern, remains. The game itself has begun to see a resurgence in interest in the last decade as nostalgia themed parlors, bars and restaurants have begun appearing in cities around the country. </p>
<h2>Videogames Emerge</h2>
<p>While there were a number or prototypical videogames created in labs on mainframes in the 50's and 60's, the era of the commercial home and arcade videogames began in the early 1970's with Ralph Baer's prototype of what would become the Magnavox Odyssey. Home and portable video game consoles,"smart phones" and tablets have all eaten into the markets for toys, dolls and tabletop games; though there's been a significant revival of interest in board games in the past 10-15 years as new styles and types of board game design have emerged from Europe and taken hold by designers, manufacturers and players world-wide. </p>
<p>If you are interested in contributing to the Jewish Play Project you can reach us at Jewish + Play + Project (at) magic dot rit dot edu.</p>
<h2>How The Jewish Play Project Got Started</h2>
<p>In the fall of 2012, Professor Stephen Jacobs and Rabbi Robert Morais began discussing the potential for an exhibit on Judaism, play, toys and games for the JCC of Metro Detroit's Shalom Street Museum. That discussion led to Shalom Street's pioneering exhibition, "Across the Board: From Dreidel to XBOX: The Toys and Games of the Jewish People".</p>
<p>During Professor Jacobs' research for the "Toymakers Hall of Fame" section of the exhibition in the summer of 2014, it became clear that there was a much larger story to tell than the exhibit itself could support. So the idea for the Jewish Play Project was born. The Jewish Play Project is supported by the Center for Media, Art, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC) at the Rochester Institute of Technology.</p>
<h2>Why It's Online Now Even Though It's Not "Finished"</h2>
<p>First, this topic covers hundreds of people and companies and potentially thousands of toys since the 1800s. There's opportunity here for decades worth of collaborative scholarly work across numerous institutions. It will be a long time before these efforts are "finished."</p>
<p>Second, we believe in Open Source and Free Content (RIT has the first academic minor in the topic) The philosophy of those communities is to get work out into the community as soon as possible to encourage collaboration.</p>
<p>Third, many of our initial discoveries, and this current web site, would not be possible without the World Wide Web; a technology created to encourage dissemination of pre-publication work to encourage knowledge sharing. It seems only right to make this information public as early as possible.</p>
<h2>Who We Are</h2>
<img src="img/jacobs.png"></img>
<h4>Stephen Jacobs</h4>
<p>Professor, School of <a href="">Interactive Games and Media</a> at RIT
<br>Visiting Scholar, <a href="">Strong National Museum of Play</a>'s <a href="">International Center for the History of Electronic Games</a>
<br>FOSS@MAGIC Faculty Lead, <a href="">Center for Media, Art, Games, Interaction and Creativity</a> at the Rochester Institute of Technology</p>
<img src="img/dyson.jpeg" width="200";></img>
<h4><a href="">Jon-Paul Dyson</a></h4>
<p>Director, International Center for the History of Electronic <br>Games and VP for Exhibits, <a href="">The Strong</a></p>
<img src="img/gottlieb.png" width="200";></img>
<h4><a href="">Owen Gottlieb</a></h4>
<p>Assistant Professor, School Interactive Games and Media, RIT
<br>Founder and Lead Research Faculty, The Initiative in Religion, Culture, and Policy; RIT MAGIC Center
<br>Founder and Director, <a href="">ConverJent</a>: Jewish Games for Learning, Co-designer, <a href="">Jewish Time Jump</a>: New York, Reform rabbi</p>
<img src="img/kiron.jpg" width="200";></img>
<h4>Arthur Kiron</h4>
<p><a href="">Schottenstien-Jesselson Curator of Judaica Collections</a>
<br>University of Pennsylvania Center for Advanced Judaic Studies</p>
<img src="img/lietzkow.jpeg" width="200";></img>
<h4>J&ouml;rg M&uuml;ller-Lietzkow</h4>
<p>Prof. Dr. J&ouml;rg M&uuml;ller-Lietzkow
<br>Director, GamesLab, <a href=""> University of Paderborn</a>
<br>Media Economics and Media Management</p>
<img src="img/morais.jpeg" width="200";></img>
<h4><a href="">Rob Morais</a></h4>
<p>Senior Rabbi, <a href="">Temple Israel</a>, Ottowa</p>
<img src="img/perelman.jpeg" width="200";></img>
<h4><a href="">Josh Perelman</a></h4>
<p>Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions and Collections at <a href="">National Museum of American Jewish History</a>
<h3>Student Researchers and Developers</h3>
<p>As with many academic projects, nothing could have been done without the talents and passions of students.</p>
<p>Alia Calkins Version 2
<br>Alexandria Mack Version 1
<br>Andrew Mandula Version 1
<br>Jackie Wiley Version 1</p>
<p>Andrew Merriman Version 2
<br>Juliann Internicola Version 2
<br>Jenn Kotler Version 1
<br>Changbai Li Version 1
<br>Luis Rosario Version 1</p>