With historical shrines dedicated to film, literature, and television, it's sometimes rather annoying that video games get the shaft. Luckily, a group of upstarts is setting forth to change that. The Videogame History Museum is an organization that, as the name suggests, dedicates itself to the history and evolution of video games. At present they have 25,000 plus pieces of gaming goodness, much of which find themselves exhibited at conventions such as GDC and E3. Now the organization has a larger goal in mind: creating a permanent display for their vast collection.
The VGHM describes it origins as such:
The Videogame History Museum is the natural extension of the work started by John Hardie, Sean Kelly and Joe Santulli almost 25 years ago. Individually, each has always seen the importance of the videogame industry and took it upon himself to gather as much information and as many artifacts as possible. Collectively, they have amassed the most comprehensive collection of hardware, software, design documentation and memorabilia ever assembled.
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In to a July 23rd press release, the organization states that it is setting an initial goal of $30,000 "to help finance additional fundraising activities and also to better mobilize the museum's collections for exhibit at various industry trade shows." The Video Game History Museum has raised $11,770 (donations can be made on the Kickstarter site); the full $30,000 must be raised by September 1st if it is to receive funding for the fledgling effort. How soon could the museum be up and running? In an interview with Game Informer, the VGHM's Joe Santulli says, "I would foresee it happening in the next six years, realistically." According to Santulli, this has more to do with finding a suitable location than any sort of logistical challenge.
Naturally, I think it's a fantastic idea. Having grown up in the Nintendo era (though there was a bit of fun and frolic with Pitfall on the old Atari), I have a sort of nostalgic appreciation for all things old-timey when it comes to gaming. The first system I owned - donated by a friend of my father, who had clearly grown weary of his garage full of money - was the Atari Lynx. For those who are a bit rusty on their video game history, the Lynx was essentially the PSP of its day. It was quite large, specialized in arcade machine ports, and required something like six AA batteries - those were the days, my friends; those were the days. Sadly Atari's attempt at producing a pocket-sized Skynet has since died - its immense power collapsing in on itself like a neutron star - but the memories of many a night playing Xenophobe and APB (the 80's version, not this newfangled PC bother) helped to spark my interest handheld gaming.
Even for non-gamers, it's interesting to see the immense strides technology has made in the space of a few short decades, as illustrated by this side-by-side comparison. Gaming has become a part of our culture - despite what the naysayer might hope for, it doesn't seem as though it's gong away anytime soon - and as such, I find games to be of some historical value. So kudos to the kids at the VGHM; here's to hoping all goes well, and perhaps one day I will make my pilgrimage to this most nerdy of Meccas.
Check out the Video Game History Museum's site for further development!