The booming game industry is attracting the attention of academic sorts in the UK who wish to see its history preserved.

As the videogame industry continues to grow and age, a group from Nottingham Trent University is partnering with the National Media Museum in Bradford to launch the UK’s first National Videogame Archive, in an effort to document its history before it’s forgotten. According to a news release, the archive will serve to, “recognize the significant contributions made by videogames to the diversity of popular culture across the globe – from the humble beginnings of 1972’s Pong, to the blockbusters of the 21st Century.”

Located at the NMM in Bradford, West Yorkshire, the archive will be overseen and managed in collaboration with NTU’s Center for Contemporary Play. The collection will include gaming consoles, cartridges, and a broad range of other important gaming-related items of relevant cultural significance garnered from across the industry. A wide swath of print materials, including ads, reviews, and artwork, will also be collected and preserved in the archive.

Archiving the collection of gaming’s history presents some challenges, according to Paul Goodman, head of collections at NMM. The goal, he said, is to strike a balance between preserving the artifacts while allowing the public to interact with them.

The historical archive will serve as a vital resource to support ongoing videogame studies as well as a means for the public and future generations to explore the olden days of gaming, according to Dr. James Newman, from NTU’s Center for Contemporary Play.

“The National Videogame Archive is an important resource for preserving elements of our national cultural heritage,” he notes in the press release. “We don’t just want to create a virtual museum full of code or screenshots that you could see online. The archive will really get to grips with what is a very creative, social and productive culture.”

The archive will be unveiled for the first time at the GameCity 3 festival in Nottingham later this month.

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