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The Video Game History Foundation Wants To Save Gaming's Past

The group is "dedicated to figuring out how to save as much video game history as we can, and make it accessible to everyone."


Nonprofit group The Video Game History Foundation today launched a crowdfunding campaign to help support its overarching goal: preserve the history of the video game industry.

As detailed on its Patreon page, it explains that it's "dedicated to figuring out how to save as much video game history as we can, and make it accessible to everyone. Our goal is to make sure that storytellers have what they need to be able to tell the story of video games, and we're already working through a tremendous backlog of incredible material."

The initiative is headed up by Frank Cifaldi, who previously worked in the games press (at places like Gamasutra and 1UP) and as a developer (on games such as Mega Man Legacy Collection). He also founded the website Lost Levels in 2003, which catalogs information about unreleased games.

In the video above, Cifaldi lays out some of why this is important. "We believe that video games are more than just playable code. It's the ephemeral material that was produced around it. It's the marketing. It's the stories. And all of these things are in danger of disappearing unless we actually go out and find it and make sure it's safe."

He notes that the VGHF is starting off small, but in the future he suggests the possibility of opening up a library, working with museums, or helping developers to ensure their code is kept secure long-term.

"Being an historian myself, I know the kinds of materials that historians rely on to tell stories, so that's what we're focusing on right now: gathering, digitizing, and making available video game artifacts, to whoever wants to access it," Cifaldi says in the Patreon description. "If you're a historian, that means a wealth of material to work with. If you're not a historian, that means lots of cool old video game stuff to look at and play with."

"We're hoping that this is merely the humble start to what will become a larger organization. I want to grow the Foundation into something that lives well beyond my lifetime, and affects some real change in the way that the industry treats its past.

"Video games matter, and we want to make sure their roots are never forgotten. I'm doing this with or without you--this is my job now, for the rest of my life. But the more help I'm able to to get now, the more we can accomplish."

You can check out the VGHF's website here. It launches with a collection of items from the NES's launch in the United States. There are rare materials like trade magazine and newspaper ads, the script for a speech given by a Nintendo executive at the time, and more.

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