Smithsonian to document evolution of game industry with Video Game Pioneers Archive

"The Video Game Pioneers Archive will allow the Smithsonian and like-minded organizations to capture the history of this technical and creative industry."

The Smithsonian’s Lemelson Centre for the Study of Invention and Innovation has launched a new initiative dedicated to recording and preserving video game history inside a Video Game Pioneers Archive. 

The new multimedia gallery will identify and document important materials concerning the emergence and evolution of the games industry, and will feature historical interviews and unique materials from first-generation industry pioneers. 

"[The archive] will preserve the beginnings and evolution of the industry in the words of its founders," reads a Smithsonian statement

"[It will] enable scholars and the public to better understand the personalities, technologies and social forces that have driven interactive entertainment to become one of the largest media businesses of all time."

The Smithsonian and the Lemelson Centre ultimately hope to build an archive that displays the successes and failures of significant game inventors to reveal "the many sides of invention and innovation."

Over the next two years the archive will be updated with 20 in-depth oral-history interviews with creators active in the '60s and '70s. The first completed interview will feature award-winning game designer, Richard Garriott, famous for his work on the Ultima series. 

An expert committee of game pioneers, scholars, and representatives from other major museums and institutes will help oversee and advance the initiative. 

"Over the course of only 50 years, video games grew from the idea of a few pioneers to an industry that entertains and educates billions of people worldwide," said Arthur Daemmrich, director of the Lemelson Center.

"The Video Game Pioneers Archive will allow the Smithsonian and like-minded organizations to capture the history of this technical and creative industry through the first-hand recollections and records of its founders and put the materials to use in future exhibitions and programs."

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