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Christopher S. Weaver papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 120.1178
The Christopher S. Weaver papers are a compilation of original records from and about Videomagic Laboratories, as well as other computer- and programming-related reference materials. Documentation includes business plans, proposals, technical papers, notes, sketches, logs, memos, research materials, and laserdiscs. The bulk of the materials are dated between 1982 and 1985.

The Christopher S. Weaver papers have been arranged into two series, one of which has been further divided into subseries. The collection is housed in four archival document boxes and one large audiovisual materials box.


  • 1979 - 1989



The majority of materials in this collection are in English, with a few instances of Finnish.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to files on laserdiscs is limited to on-site researchers; advanced notice is required. See also The Strong’s Digital Game Files Access Policy.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donor has not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, he has given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.


3 Linear Feet (4 archival document boxes, 1 A/V box)


The Christopher S. Weaver papers contain original records about and from Videomagic Laboratories, as well as other computer- and programming-related materials. The materials are dated between 1979 and 1989.

Biographical Note

Christopher S. Weaver is an American educator, software developer, and entrepreneur.

Prior to founding Bethesda Softworks in 1986, Weaver was a technology forecaster, television communications engineer, and co-founder of Videomagic Laboratories. At Videomagic Laboratories, engineers produced the first commercial videodisc-based environment simulator; they also developed core technologies which allowed users to interact with a display screen and edit interactive video. Though that company shuttered in 1985, Weaver’s experience in commercial development paved the way for future endeavors. Bethesda Softworks, entirely self-funded, launched its first PC game in 1986. Over the next decade, Bethesda developed and published hit titles like Wayne Gretzky Hockey (1988), The Terminator (1991), and The Elder Scrolls: Arena (1994). In 1999, Weaver and Robert A. Altman cofounded ZeniMax Media as a new parent company for Bethesda. Weaver shifted into the role of Chief Technology Officer and later left the company in 2002. (ZeniMax was later acquired by Microsoft in 2021.)

Weaver has more than 30 years of experience in the computer software and telecommunications industries. Since 1998, Weaver has been a Research Scientist and Lecturer in both Comparative Media Studies and Materials Science and Engineering at MIT; he is also a Distinguished Professor of Computational Media at Wesleyan University. Weaver is the Chairman of the Video Game Pioneers Initiative Advisory Board at the Smithsonian Institution and serves on committees for various national and international educational organizations. His current work explores the use of interactive media in education and simulation.

System of Arrangement

Series I: Videomagic Laboratories records, 1982-1985

Subseries A: Company documentation
Subseries B: Laserdiscs

Series II: Reference materials, 1979-1989

Custodial History

The Christopher S. Weaver papers were donated to The Strong in March 2021 as a gift of Christopher Weaver. The papers were accessioned by The Strong under Object ID 120.1178 and were received from Weaver along with several computers, video game accessories, and marketing kits.

Processed by

Julia Novakovic, May-June 2022
Finding Aid to the Christopher S. Weaver Papers, 1979-1989
Julia Novakovic
14 June 2022
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository

The Strong
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA
585.423.1886 (Fax)