BGI’s Curator at Large Iain Simons talks to Wireframe Magazine about videogame perservation

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This piece is reproduced from Wireframe. Full article here.

Recently, Iain Simons spoke to Wireframe Magazine about The BGI and the National Videogame Museum’s efforts to preserve gaming history, via our Videogame Heritage Society.

Since 1662, a copy of every published book has been deposited at the British Library. It’s a legal requirement that preserves the works of authors for future generations, and Iain Simons would be happy if there were a similar system created for video games.

“There’s no systemic, structured way for games to be preserved – none at all,” laments the co-founder and creative director of the National Videogame Museum (NVM) in Sheffield. “Unlike books, there’s no legal deposit, so I could release a game today and no official structure would ever know about it.”

This isn’t a unique situation. There’s no legal requirement for movie-makers to deposit their films nor musicians to hand over a copy of their every composition. Still, many people interested in video games are still keen to retain as much of its past as possible. “This magazine will be lodged with the British Library and my words during this interview will probably survive longer than the things I’m talking about,” Simons continues. Yet rather than call for a single vault of software and hardware, he and others believe the answer may lie elsewhere.

Step forward, then, the Videogame Heritage Society, or VHS for short. Led by the NVM, it aims to bring together organisations and private collectors involved in preservation to discuss the best way forward.

“No one can collect everything,” says Simons. “It just doesn’t make sense for the NVM, or frankly any museum, to put its arms around huge amounts of items and put it all in one place. Today, there are towns and cities across the UK which have museums, exhibitions, and collections of their own heritage that plot individual local stories. So the answer perhaps lies in a national collection that’s shared across a bunch of institutions rather than one trying to get everything, and what we’re now starting to think about is how we might coordinate a distributed collection.”

Iain Simons, co-founder and creative director at the National Videogame Museum, worries that we’re still in danger of losing gaming’s link to the past.Iain Simons, co-founder and creative director at the National Videogame Museum, worries that we’re still in danger of losing gaming’s link to the past.

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In many ways, this is a different approach from one Simons pursued in the past – primarily with the National Videogame Archive (NVA), which he helped spearhead in 2008…

Many thanks to Wireframe Magazine for featuring the Videogame Heritage Society in their November issue. Read the full article here.

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