Laine Nooney, a media studies researcher and cultural historian of technology, will be visiting Oakhurst from Sept. 18-22. Nooney is writing a book about Sierra On-Line, a home entertainment software company which was headquartered in the region during the 1980s and 90s. She is seeking to formally interview anyone who was associated with the company, or its owners, Ken and Roberta Williams, as part of her research on the company’s history.
“This is a book about video game history, but also about what it means to run a technology business in rural America,” Nooney said. “Sierra was one of the largest employers in the town. I want to explore the relationship of the company to the region, the town, and to its previous employees.”
Nooney is coordinating her efforts with the organizers of the upcoming Mountain Heritage Days, and will have a table at the Fresno Flats Historic Park after the Saturday Parade.
“Video game history is an important part of Oakhurst’s heritage," Nooney said. "For almost 15 years, Oakhurst was known as home to one of the nation’s leaders in interactive computer entertainment. People across the world still recognize the Sierra logo, which is an image of the Half Dome.”
Nooney hopes to speak with ex-employees, friends and spouses of ex-employees, local business owners who may have worked with the company, and anyone else with memories to share.
“Everyone has something to contribute,” Nooney says, “whether they had a positive or negative impression of the company.”
The oral interviews Nooney collects will be permanently housed at the Fresno Flat Historic Research Library, where they will be available to researchers for years to come.
“Like any oral history, the content of these conversations grows more valuable over time. There will be insights historians can draw from them 100 years from now that I can't yet see. It is important that these memories are preserved,” Nooney added.
Residents interested in being interviewed with Laine Nooney September 18-22 can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 937-219-5209. Additionally, Nooney has made a Facebook group, Sierra On-Line memories, for people to join and contact her that way.