Video Game Archives

posted Oct 31, 2012, 9:38 PM by jj pionke
Did you know that the University of Michigan has a Video Game Archive?!  It was one of the first things that I heard about when I got here and yet tonight was the first time that I was able to go.  It's so COOL!  My kids lit class went on a field trip as the archive is located in the Arts, Architecture, and Engineering Library in the Duderstadt building.  Now, you might be asking, why the heck would a kids lit class go there and why would a R1 university even have a video game archive?  To answer the first question, because kids play a lot of games.  A lot of the time, we don't think of a quick game of solitaire or 10 minutes on Mafia Wars as gaming, but it is.  The nature of gaming has changed dramatically and that answers question number 2.  The archive is there to capture not just the games themselves, but the gaming experience as a whole.  Tonight we had a bit of a roundtable discussion and then were encouraged to play games we had never played before.  My class is made up of mostly non-gamers.  I'm a gamer but I've never played on xbox (though I've been thinking about trying it out for literally years) so I got hooked up with an xbox and Halo Reach.  I wasn't in love with the controls for Halo, but the game was kind of fun, if a bit frustrating at times.  At any rate, this archive is there to capture the experience of gaming and that is, in part, what makes it a bit different than other video game archives.  A lot of archives are there just to capture the materials, but this Video Game Archive is there to not just capture the games themselves but the experience of playing them as they should be played.  Want to try pacman on an Atari system?  You can!  The archive regularly has various types of activities, including tournaments.

BTW, got games you don't want anymore?  Half of the archive has been donated and they are always willing to accept more donations.  The older the stuff, the more likely to fail so having backups and spare parts are a must.