The Video Game History Foundation set up shop back in 2017 and offers a gigantic collection of gaming-related archival materials, from magazines to art books and even source code. Previously, you’d have to make the trek to Oakland, California to peruse the archive, but that changes soon. The VGHF just announced a digital library that will offer remote access.
These tools will be made available to researchers, academics and garden-variety gaming enthusiasts like the rest of us. The library will offer access to the collection “for free from anywhere in the world.” There’s a video that shows the archive in action, hosted by library director Phil Salvador.
The VGHF has an eventual goal of digitizing the entire archive, but this is a massive undertaking. It’ll be a while before the whole collection is digitized, as this stuff takes time. Just ask any museum curator. The organization has already been at it for two years, but some of that was spent designing the search technology and interface platform. The library is expected to launch sometime next year and will likely release with a sampling of the catalog.
This will be an absolutely crucial tool for preserving the legacy of gaming for future generations. The collection includes print magazines, design documents, audio assets, press materials, concept art and so much more. Some of the current physical archive is already grouped into handy collections, like media chronicling the atmosphere surrounding the Nintendo Entertainment System’s launch in the US.
The VGHF has an extraordinary pedigree. The organization was founded by games journalist Frank Cifaldi, who ran a popular website about unreleased games called Lost Levels. Cifaldi is also known for his journalism work at Gamasutra. He’s joined by a team of industry veterans like Game Developers Conference leader Simon Carless and Smithsonian exhibit creator Chris Melissinos, among others.
Beyond the archive, the VGHF is heavily involved with restoring media materials from companies like Bethesda, Capcom, SNK and others.