Academics at Nottingham Trent University are partnering with the Bradford, UK National Media Museum to launch the country's first National Videogame Archive, to preserve the history of the medium and "recognize the significant contributions made by videogames to the diversity of popular culture across the globe."
The Archive will not only collect consoles and cartridges, but a "broad range of items from across the industry," documenting games as a cultural phenomenon with ad campaigns, magazine reviews, and artwork. It will be housed and cared for at the museum, and built and researched in collaboration with the University's Centre for Contemporary Play.
"We don’t just want to create a virtual museum full of code or screenshots that you could see online," says the Centre's Dr. James Newman. "The archive will really get to grips with what is a very creative, social and productive culture."
The film industry was late to start building such a trove, says the University, meaning that "countless pieces of historically significant material have been lost forever." The aim here is to start creating a historical preservation resource early.
Paul Goodman, Head of Collections & Knowledge at the National Media Museum, says there will be challenges in exactly how to present the archive. "We must balance the necessary conservation requirements of these materials, with the need to allow the public to understand and interact with them both now and in the future, which is really the cornerstone of what we are trying to do," he says.
The National Videogame Archive will launch at this year’s GameCity 3 festival in Nottingham, for which Nottingham Trent University is the lead partner.
Says Newman, "The National Videogame Archive is an important resource for preserving elements of our national cultural heritage.It will not only be a vital academic resource to support growing disciplines in videogame studies but will also be something that the general public can fully engage with."