Archivists launch the Video Game History Foundation

February 28, 2017 | 10:37

Tags: #computer-history #library #nes #preservation

Companies: #history #nintendo #video-game-history-foundation

A team of retro-gaming enthusiasts have joined forces to launch the Video Game History Foundation, a US non-profit organisation which aims to catalogue and digitise the history of video games across the world.

Founded by gaming archivist and historian Frank Cifaldi and with Steve Lin, Simon Carless, Mike Mika, and Chris Melissinos on its board, the Video Game History Foundation has a noble goal: the creation of a searchable digital library of documentation and artefacts relating to the history of computer and video gaming, ranging from high-resolution scans of game packaging and documentation through to internal company memos and verified-clean binary dumps of the games themselves. The team is also expanding Frank Cifaldi's magazine collection into a permanent reference library, which it says is to be housed on the West Coast of the US 'in a location to be determined.'

The Video Game History Foundation has no intention of becoming a museum, however. 'Artefacts in our possession are often transitory: once we've digitised and preserved an item, we donate it to its permanent home,' the team explained. 'We also advise those wishing to donate their items on what their options are, and as part of our education program, expose the institutions to new audiences.

'Video game history is disappearing. The majority of games that have been created throughout history are no longer easily accessible to study and play. And even when we can play games, that playable code is only a part of the story,
' the Foundation has claimed. 'In order to know how and why games were made, how they were advertised and sold, and even how they were seen by players of their time, historians and researchers rely on ephemeral materials - artwork, interviews, reviews, packaging, advertising, internal documentation, and more - to tell a complete story. And without an organized effort to collect, document, and preserve these materials, there is a very real danger of losing them forever.'

While the Foundation claims to have digitised considerable material already, it is not quite ready to make the archive fully public. In the run-up to a full launch, and as part of a fundraising initiative, the Foundation is instead running a series of blog posts highlighting key items from its collection - beginning with materials from the launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and its lesser-known predecessor the Advanced Video System (AVS).

More information on the project is available on the official website.
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