EDMOND, OKLAHOMA — Jeff Price may be the only college professor you’ll ever hear bragging about his wild childhood spending habits.
He recalls, “Every bit of money we had we bought comic books or played video games.”
Price still gets to live his childhood at the arcade.
Look on the other side of his office at Oklahoma Christian University and he actually encourages visitors to play with his collection of games, most of which he restored himself.
Price jokes, “I don’t have the glowing star carpet or the smell of spilled Pepsi in here but it’s as close as I could get to an arcade.”
Professor Price actually started the Gaming and Animation program at Oklahoma Christian.
It’s now one of the best in the nation according to one computer magazine list.
His Art Department students learn to create virtual worlds and animate creatures that might eventually go into their own games.
One of Jeff’s students describes her work from last semester.
“This is a velociraptor that I’ve been working on,” she says.
He keeps his vintage machines from the 70′s and 80′s around, partly, as a history lesson for students who’ve grown up gaming at home or on their phones.
These are the Angry Birds of another generation.
“It’s like Homer’s The Odyssey,” says Price of his machines. “These are the classics.”
Space Invaders, Pong, Defender, Centipede. The old arcade lives on during his office hours, but you won’t need quarters to play.
“If you own the machine you don’t need any quarters,” he says while playing a quick game of Space Invaders.
They’re a teaching tool for sure. This is history, after all. But it just happens to be the history of fun.