Like the Smithsonian in America, a well-known Australian preservation group has announced it will begin collecting video games for “archival preservation.”
The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia is collecting games released between 1982 and 2019 to be displayed in Canberra at an exhibit called Game Masters: The Exhibition.
The exhibit honors Australian-made games, and these include the following eight games in the initial wave of inductees:
- The Hobbit (Beam Software, 1982)
- Halloween Harry (Interactive Binary Illusions / Sub Zero Software, 1985/1993)
- Shadowrun (Beam Software, 1993)
- L.A. Noire (Team Bondi, 2011)
- Submerged (Uppercut Games, 2015)
- Hollow Knight (Team Cherry, 2017)
- Florence (Mountains, 2018)
- Espire 1: VR Operative (Digital Lode, 2019)
The NFSA in Canberra will have these titles on display in the Game Masters exhibit until March 2020. In addition to serving as a venue for people to come see Australian-made games, the NFSA is actually digitally preserving the games, which is a big deal for the older games that were not initially released on digital formats.
Attendees can also see storyboards, artwork, soundtracks, and marketing materials for the games on display. The NFSA said it aims to “paint a complete picture of the game’s creative process from concept to finished product.”
Outside of the eight games, the Game Masters exhibit features 80 total playable games, along with other elements such as “never-before-seen” concept art, and a display of vintage consoles and collectable items.
“The collection represents the cultural diversity and breadth of experience of all Australians, and it is constantly evolving just like our creative industries,” NFSA CEO Jan Muller said in a statement. “We aim to be the national leader in collecting multimedia and new media content, and it would be impossible to accurately represent modern life without games. It is essential that games be collected alongside other audiovisual media, to ensure their continued preservation and access.”
Muller went on to say that this selection of games is just the “initial” wave, suggesting more may be added to the exhibit over time. The NFSA worked with Australian trade groups the Interactive Games And Entertainment Association and the Game Developers’ Association of Australia on the Game Masters exhibit.
IGEA CEO Ron Curry said, “It’s very exciting to see a national collecting institution acknowledging the increasingly important role of video games in the life of all Australians. Games are a major part of contemporary popular culture; an artistic, storytelling and technological achievement, as well as an industry that contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to the Australian economy. We look forward to working with the NFSA as they start adding games to their vast collection.”
Game Masters is also hosting special events, including Local Heroes of Gaming (November 22) and the Women and Non-Binary Gamers’ Club (November 29). More details on the Game Masters exhibit, including ticket information, can be found on the event’s website.