The Alito Lamp is created to honor the work of Noelie Alito, one of the few women programmers who created Atari games. Although there are very few references to Noelie Alito, we wanted to celebrate her work. One game which Noelie Alito took part in creating was Moon Patrol, a 1982 Atari 2600 side-scroller home computer game. The player controls a moon buggy that traverses the surface of the moon and must avoid a range of obstacles–such as craters, mines, UFOs and tanks. The Alito lamp is a representation of Moon Patrol. It is made of laser-cut wooden frames with five panels resembling the memorable backgrounds of the retro game. On these electromagnetic embellished display panels is the moon buggy–the core character in the original game. The displays can be manipulated with the push of the button on a 3D printed Atari controller which is placed on top of the lamp. As the buggy moves across the terrained panels, the essence of the game is encapsulated by the colorful graphics and the replication of the side-scroller format embedded in the changing displays.
The lamp functions as a night light and can be a storytelling device situated in a child’s bedroom. The perfect setting for the lamp is a dim room, where a parent and child can watch as the displays change and cast shadows of the traversing rover onto the walls of the room, across the stars. The parent tells a story of the heroic moon rover as it patrols the moon to keep it safe for all inhabitants, which can be linked to the story of Noelie Alito. Further, the Alito Lamp embeds the idea that women’s contributions in the gaming industry light up and pave the way for others.
Concept, Design, and Fabrication: Braxton Kinney, Jenny (Na Eun) Hong, and Nora Morsi.