PP/RG Ralph Gee
Ralph Gee's BYTEBOX
The first item listed in the catalogue for the Ralph Gee collection, the 'Byte Cube' is an eye-catching complex 3D object used by Ralph from 1993 to help market his proposals and ideas in gaming.
Ralph Gee is a former child of Red Hill School. The gaming material was mostly produced during his retirement, following a decision that the world of computer games could and should do more to mirror real life, particularly through sports such as boxing and horse racing. Ralph's ideas centred on the concept that the interactions arising from the playing of the games should be at once complex and organic, with the focus being on information and the control of, and access to it, whilst maintaining that the best games are ones that can be played in different ways. Difficulties arose when the time came to move the ideas into the commercial market. Ralph's work between leaving Red Hill and retirement is covered through a number of oral histories held at PETT.
The marketing cube pictured above had once been used for advertising other products, and having picked it up at a conference, Ralph painted on the current designs himself; these forming different patterns depending on the arrangement. Alternating arrangements to see various patterns might reveal a colourful 6-sided dice, the four suits in cards, 'I's and 'O's (binary), the four cardinal directions, or title face itself ('Bytebox, © Ralph Gee, 1993'.) This itself comes with an explanatory note, providing the reasoning behind the design choices and tips on how to reveal the various patterns. The item forms part of a larger accession showcasing Ralph's talent for video game design and implementation, along with publications and correspondence largely on the same theme. It is most interesting perhaps for what it represents; Ralph's ongoing efforts in the field as evidenced by a large proportion of the collection.
Game plan: Ralph discusses a game concept with Craig Fees at his home in Nottingham. Pictured is a device to convert an invented game on newspaper headlines from card, to board form (in order to please all markets).
During a visit to Ralph's home, Ralph transferred his game documentation with some other material over to Craig Fees and the PETT archive [Accession: 2012.019].
Ralph Gee discusses items of his collection with Archivist Matt Naylor during an oral history recording, 21st-22nd March 2012.
There are a number of oral history recordings held at PETT featuring Ralph, with topics discussed including the Mural of Red Hill School painted by Ralph when he was a student there, and the wider Ralph Gee Collection, of which ByteBox is but a sample.
Recordings with Ralph Gee include:
(T) CF701 (2008)
(T) HLF/RHS/003/OH (2010)
(T) HLF/RHS/013/OH-015/OH (2010)
(T) HLF/MISC/053/OH (2011)
(T) CF863-872 (2012)
(T) MJN 001-004 (2012)