The Video Game Foundation is a new non-profit organization that is working to preserve video gaming history. There are countless gaming items lost forever to the elements of time. Some are simply hiding away somewhere in someone’s attic or basement, just waiting to be discovered and shared with the world. We know how difficult it can be to locate and source official documents and information. This is especially true of the video game industry during the mid to late 1980s. Many companies didn’t keep hardcopies of press releases or beta software, and even tracking down seemingly simple nuggets of information, like the official release date of the original Super Mario Bros. for the NES have proven difficult.
Thankfully we have great people like Frank Cifaldi, who is the founder of The Video Game History Foundation, working to uncover these mysteries and to archive and share them. We know this firsthand, as he has been instrumental in helping us with our Warp Zone section. As you peruse some of the articles, especially the ones with specific print advertising, you’ll often come across images that Frank has provided.
You can help this project along as well! If you have stuff to donate or wish to give a monetary donation to the cause, simply visit the official site here. We are looking forward to seeing many of the awesome things that they procure along the way!
Video game preservation matters because video games matter. Games are deeply ingrained in our culture, and they’re here to stay. They generated an unprecedented $91 billion dollars in revenue in 2016. They’re being collected by the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Library of Congress. They’ve inspired dozens of feature films and even more books. They’re used as a medium of personal expression, as the means for raising money for charity, as educational tools, and in therapy.
And yet, despite all this, 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.
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.
[Source: The Video Game History Foundation]