The National Center for the History of Electronic Games, a museum which collects and preserves games and game-related objects, will open its doors tomorrow in Rochester, New York.
The Center is based in the Strong National Museum of Play, and will serve as the home of one of the country's largest collections of items from the history of electronic games: 15,000 objects in total, including 10,000 games from every system since the granddaddy of them all, the Magnavox Odyssey.
In addition to games, game systems, and toys, the Center also collects game-related objects and materials, meaning advertisements, magazines, game boxes, even "personal and business papers" and "other associated artifacts and documents that represent or illustrate the impact of electronic games on American life."
Sounds like a really cool garage sale, doesn't it? Well, the staff of the Center would like to think it's a bit more than that. "Electronic games are a rapidly evolving new form of play," they write. "They are having a profound effect not only on how Americans play, but also on how they learn and how they connect to each other. Therefore, the [Strong museum] must explore and interpret the cultural history of electronic games and help ensure that they and related material are collected and preserved for future generations. The National Center for the History of Electronic Games is the museum's mechanism for accomplishing this."
In addition to housing the collection, the Center is currently preparing a large-scale interactive exhibit for 2012 tentatively titled The Revolutionary World of Electronic Play. Better get on that one fast guys, this "world of electronic play" moves pretty quickly. In the meantime, the Center will play host to an exhibit called Videotopia that examines the history of arcade games from the earliest machines to the most recent.
So, that's nice that these guys have put together a huge collection of games, but the real question is: can we play them? The answer's yes and no - researchers will get complete access to the Center's collection, while a good number of the games (but not all of them) will be available to the public to play when they come to visit.
The Center opens tomorrow and is located in Rochester, New York, so if you're in the neighborhood, drop by and get a taste of gaming history.