BGI and Bath Spa University lead British-Japanese collaboration to preserve games heritage

The BGI and Bath Spa University have won Research Council funding to start a new games heritage preservation project that builds ties between Japan and the UK to preserve games heritage.

The project brings together Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Bath Spa University and the National Videogame Museum (NVM) in Sheffield to identify and share best practice in game preservation, curation and exhibition. The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

A series of collaborations, visits and research starts in May 2019, when the BGI’s Head of Collections Professor James Newman and NVM Director of Culture Iain Simons visit Kyoto, before leading Japanese videogames heritage academics, including the legendary Japanese hardware designer Masayuki Uemura, former head of R&D at Nintendo, visit the UK later in the summer.

The work brings together experts from some of the world’s leading videogames heritage preservation institutions to map the preservation of ‘at risk’ videogames material, identify the latest innovations in the curation and exhibition of videogames and investigate solutions to legal, technical and infrastructural impediments to their preservation and exhibition. A parallel series of events and lectures are planned in both countries before articles are published in journals in early 2020.

The project is a step towards a large-scale exhibition with the NVM in 2020 that will foreground the underrepresented histories of UK and Japanese game development, culture and practice, including the decades of interactions and flows of talent and creativity between these two pioneers and key players in videogaming.

James Newman, Professor of Digital Media at Bath Spa University, said “Videogames are a vital part of contemporary popular culture but they’re in danger of disappearing. As old systems and storage media fail, we run the risk of losing access to games forever so it’s essential that we take steps to preserve them for future generations of players, gamemakers and researchers. Working with the National Videogame Museum and Ritsumeikan Center for Game Studies ensures that the project brings together world-leading institutions in the field and allows us to take a truly international approach to the challenges of game preservation, interpretation and exhibition.”

Iain Simons, Director of Culture for the BGI and NVM, said “We’re honoured to be working on this new research project, hoping to add to the knowledge and best-practise of museums around the World through this exciting collaboration. The NVM is an international institution and has enjoyed a long relationship with our esteemed colleagues in Ritsumeikan University as well as colleagues from around the World. Videogames are a global culture, so it’s right that videogame interpretation and preservation is a global effort. We’re excited to be playing our part!”


If you would like to interview BGI staff, please contact Iain Simons on and +44 (0) 115 850 7843.

About the BGI

The BGI is a new agency for games that educates the public about the art, science, history and technology of games through a range of programmes. The BGI runs programmes in culture (such as the National Videogame Museum and the GameCity Festival), skills (such as the Pixelheads after-school club and the Games Education Summit) and diversity (such as How to start your career in games development on FutureLearn). For more details about the BGI’s mission and programmes, please visit:

About the National Videogame Museum

The NVM is a museum that educates the public about the art, science, history and technology of videogames. The NVM celebrates videogame culture and allows the public to play most of its exhibits, which include games consoles, arcade machines and other interactive experiences, including games designed exclusively for the Museum. The Museum displays the UK’s only permanently accessible collection of over 100 videogames as well a large collection of game memorabilia and ephemera. Formerly the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham, the Museum has welcomed over 120,000 visitors, including hundreds of school visits, since it opened in 2016. The Museum presents a mixture of permanent and temporary exhibitions that are scheduled up to 2 years in advance, some of which tour the UK. For more details about the NVM, please visit:

About Bath Spa University

Bath Spa University is where creative minds meet. We teach and research across art, sciences, education, social science, and business. The University employs outstanding creative professionals who support its aim to be a leading educational institution in creativity, culture and enterprise. For more details, please visit:

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