The [University of Texas at Austin] archive which some 1,500 video games, dozens of gaming consoles and vintage computers, and more than 150 boxes of industry documents, manuals, and memos, joins a growing number of institutions focusing on the video-gaming industry.
While the University of Texas at Austin has announced that it will soon offer a degree in computer-game development, some colleges, such as the University of California at Irvine and the University of Michigan, have gone even further and started video-game-studies programs, similar to the film-studies programs that started to become popular in the 1960s. And if this analogy fits, it’s all the more reason for academic institutions to take an active role in archiving games.
“When films studies took hold, they discovered that lots of stuff was missing—they’d lost many early films,” says Zach Vowell, the digital archivist who works most closely with the Briscoe Center’s video-game archive. “We’re trying to mitigate such losses by raising awareness among folks in video-game design studios to maybe think twice about throwing something out.”
Mr. Garriott echoes this concern about preserving the industry’s early products. “While some people might not yet recognize computer games as a leading art form in the same way that books, TV, and movies are, it’s an art form that is only 30 years old and moving fast,” he says “I think it’s wise that we begin to set material aside before it’s lost forever.”
Hat Tip and Thanks: Ben Wieder/Wired Campus/COHE