Games and Competition

Rasha Alqahtani, an 18-year-old from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, won a third award in the behavioral and social sciences category of the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair for her prototype of a video game feature to assess anxiety. In addition to her STEM research, Alqahtani is a poet and artist.

Innovation for Good

This Teenager Is Developing a Video Game That Assesses Your Mental Health

Rasha Alqahtani, an 18-year-old from Saudi Arabia, is determined to help her peers learn about their anxiety—in the wildly popular setting of 'Minecraft'

Users play as Kendra Turner, an intern who uncovers the dark past—and present—of the fictional Blackhaven Hall Historical Society.

Innovation for Good

New Video Game Confronts Slavery's Legacy Through a Historical Mystery

"Blackhaven" finds a fictional intern working to uncover a colonial estate's hidden history while facing present-day racism

Detail of medieval roll showing England's Henry VIII tilting at a joust in front of his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. In the West, chariot racing died out rather quickly, but beginning in the second half of the 11th century, knightly tournaments were the spectacle of medieval Europe.

The Tokyo Olympics

What the Medieval Olympics Looked Like

The Middle Ages didn't kill the Games, as international sporting competitions thrived with chariot races and jousts

A 1996 copy of "Super Mario 64"—rated 9.8, or A++, on the Wata Scale—sold last Sunday for $1.56 million.

'Super Mario 64' Is Now the World's Most Expensive Video Game

A pristine copy of the 1996 game sold at auction for $1.56 million, breaking a record set by "The Legend of Zelda" just two days prior

Yakumo Academy High School karate team members practice a kata. Competitors are judged on such things as strength/power, deportment and interpretation.

The Tokyo Olympics

The Centuries-Old Sport of Karate Finally Gets Its Due at the Olympics

With the games set for Japan, the martial art will at last debut at next month's competition

An early episode of the rebooted "Jeopardy!," which debuted in 1984 with the legendary late Alex Trebek as its host

History of Now

From 'Jeopardy' to 'Wheel of Fortune,' Archive Will Preserve Game Show History

A new collection at the Strong National Museum of Play in New York will celebrate America's beloved prime-time competitions

Game developers consulted with historians to create accurate depictions of 19th-century Native American life. The new version features playable Native characters.

Innovation for Good

New 'Oregon Trail' Game Revisits Westward Expansion From Native Perspective

Developers hired three Indigenous historians to help revamp the iconic educational computer game

Seventeen-year-old Dasia Taylor was named one of 40 finalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the country’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

Innovation for Good

This High Schooler Invented Color-Changing Sutures to Detect Infection

After winning a state science fair and becoming a finalist in a national competition, Dasia Taylor now has her sights set on a patent

Clockwise from top left, caps worn by: Chris Lindsay of the Detroit Tigers during the 1906 season; Ila Borders, the first woman to pitch in an NCAA or NAIA game; Christy Mathewson (1880-1925), history and date unknown; Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees; Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics when he logged his 300th career save in 1995; Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves, 1972-73. (Richard Gary / National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)

How the Baseball Cap Went From Athletic Gear to Fashion Statement

A tip of the cap to the nation’s crowning accessory

At the Smithsonian, educators have used the pedagogy of game-based learning to create innovative programs and activities that open the door to vast content and collections for learners of all ages.

Smithsonian Voices

Changing the Game With Game-Based Learning

Educators stress that the mechanics for learning and embracing the playful are embedded in the structure of familiar games

Italian company Beeing’s B-Box is small enough to keep on even a modest urban balcony.

Nine Attention-Grabbing Inventions Unveiled at This Year's CES

Held virtually, the Consumer Electronics Show still debuted plenty of new gadgets, from an easy-to-use beehive to a Bluetooth mask

A young girl lightly pats the backs of others with a survachka on Christmas Day in Bulgaria.

A Globe-Trotter's Guide to Holiday Games

Staying home for Christmas and New Year's? Try one of these festive traditions from around the world

Each year, Purdue University’s INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering turns into a toy testing laboratory.

The Ten Best STEM Toys to Give as Gifts in 2020

Tested and reviewed by engineers, these top picks make coding, robotics and engineering more accessible than ever

Magnavox’s Odyssey cost $99.95 in 1972—about $625 in today’s money. By comparison, today’s web-ready, famously portable Nintendo Switch sells for around $300.

The Failure of the Magnavox Odyssey Led the Way for the Future of Gaming

The first console reached homes 11 years before Nintendo, marking the beginning of a multibillion-dollar industry

Play the Smithsonian Magazine Crossword: November 2020 Issue

Test your mettle with this puzzle created exclusively for "Smithsonian" readers

Three 3,000-year-old balls discovered at the Yanghai cemetery complex in Xinjiang

Cool Finds

These Hair-Filled Leather Pouches Are the Oldest Balls Found in Eurasia

Some 3,000 years ago, Chinese horsemen may have used the objects to play a team sport involving hitting a ball

Play the Smithsonian Magazine Crossword: October Issue

Test your mettle with this puzzle created exclusively for 'Smithsonian' readers

A one-inch-long gaming piece found at the site of a former Roman fort in Chester, England

Cool Finds

Roman Gaming Piece Crafted Out of Bone Found in England

Ancient soldiers may have used the oblong token to play "Ludus Latrunculorum," or the "Game of Mercenaries"

Play the Smithsonian Magazine Crossword: September 2020 Issue

Test your mettle with this puzzle created exclusively for 'Smithsonian' readers

A double-crested cormorant dives into blue-green water.

See Birds Dive, Splash and Play in These Prize-Winning Photos

Stunning images by amateurs and professionals took center stage in the 2020 Audubon Photography Awards