The University of Texas is assembling a videogame archive as part of the creation of a new Video Game Studies degree program.
With the support of gaming legends Richard Garriott and Warren Spector, the university is putting together the collection as a research tool for the program, and also to document the earliest days of the industry. Unlike other game-based collections, however, this one will be focused primarily on game design and creation, with the bulk of the collection made up of flowcharts, concept art and other early-stage planning documents.
“One of the misunderstandings is that we’re going to become some huge museum of videogames,” said Don Carlson, director of the Center for American History at the university, which will manage the archive. “I mean, we will have examples of videogames, but our interest is documenting how these videogames were created.”
The material, ranging from official design documents to hand-drawn doodles on scraps of paper, will be cataloged and organized, after which it will be made available to researchers. Describing the decision to preserve the early days of the videogame industry, archive organizer Brenda Gunn said, “It’s a multi-billion dollar industry and it drives changes in computer technology. And whether you play games or not, you’re buying a PC or a Macintosh in some form or another and the developments for those computers have been driven by games.”
More information as well as photos of Garriott, Warren Spector and others attending the UT Videogame Archive Fundraiser can be found at the UT Videogame Archive website.