New York's Strong National Museum of Play will tomorrow open the National Center for the History of Electronic Games, dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of video games and video game-related materials.
The Rochester-based museum, which bills itself as "the only museum anywhere devoted solely to the study and interpretation of play," has long kept collections of electronic games, but it had not previously maintained a self-contained organization dedicated to them.
The new National Center for the History of Electronic Games
houses a 15,000-item collection -- one of the largest in the United States, it claims -- including some 10,000 games as well as every major system released since the Magnavox Odyssey, recognized as the first video game console.
In addition to games and systems, the Center preserves related materials such as marketing documents, connected literary works, and development and publishing papers.
The entire collection will be available on-site for perusal by researchers, while much of it will also be open for viewing, and in some cases playing, by museum attendees.
"Electronic games are not only changing the way we play; they are having a profound effect on the way we learn and the way we interact with each other," said Strong National Museum of Play CEO G. Rollie Adams. "Because Strong National Museum of Play is dedicated to exploring the role of play in American life, we are especially interested in the growing impact that electronic games have on it."
"The National Center for the History of Electronic Games is the museum's mechanism for collecting games and related artifacts and documentation; and for interpreting them through exhibits, publications, and other means," he continued. "We have been fortunate to assemble one of the two or three largest, and arguably the most broadly comprehensive, collections of electronic games and associated items in the country."
In addition to its permanent collection, from May 30 to November 1, 2009, the Center will host "Videotopia," which focuses specifically on arcade games spanning the medium's history.