Our Subject Specialist Network
Videogames heritage is disappearing fast and in 2019 the museum sector lacked any systematic, coordinated methodology to preserve videogames.
As world-class experts in the preservation and curation of videogames, we realised that something had to change or we would start to lose vital elements of videogames’ cultural heritage.
So we founded the Videogame Heritage Society in 2020 to convene organisations and private collectors to discuss and coordinate best practice in videogames preservation, and to tackle significant legal and technical issues.
The VHS is a Subject Specialist Network (SSN), a formal collection of museums and members who seek to share advice and guidance about acquiring, preserving, and researching videogames. The VHS was the first ever digital SSN and is the only SSN dedicated to the preservation of digital games. The VHS was supported by a grant from the Art Fund.
The Videogame Heritage Society develops best practice and shares knowledge around videogame collections, exhibition and interpretation. It is an invaluable platform for the heritage sector.
Foteini Aravani, Curator of Digital Collections, Museum of London
Unusually, much of the deepest knowledge about videogames lies outside of museum and heritage institutions, so we involve individuals and private collectors who are hugely passionate about particular games or platforms.
The VHS provides advocacy, expertise and support in the collection, preservation, exhibition and interpretation of videogames across the museum and heritage sector and the videogame production sector through events, working groups and online workshops.
The VHS’ founder members include the Science Museum Group, the British Library, the BFI, Museum of London, Centre for Computing History, Bath Spa University, the Retro Hour Podcast and C64Audio.com.
The VHS is led by Iain Simons, Director of Culture at the BGI, and Professor James Newman, BGI’s head of Research Iain and James are world-class experts in games culture and heritage. They were instrumental in setting up the National Videogame Archive now housed by the Science Museum Group, and have published numerous books, articles and research papers on games preservation and curation.
The VHS is an important channel for our research. We have published extensively on games culture and the preservation, interpretation and curation of videogames in museums. This has included an Economic and Social Research Council-funded research programme on game preservation with Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto and Bath Spa University. We collaborate with universities such as the University of Nottingham, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Sheffield and the Norwich University of the Arts on new primary research.