Great classic video game systems such as the ColecoVision, TurboGrafx-16 and (the not-quite-as-great) 3DO may have vanished from most home entertainment centers long ago, but a number of collectors (like myself) still have a number of classic systems hooked up and on display when the old-school itch starts taking effect. However, it seems that world-class universities are getting in on the action too, as the University of Michigan has assembled their own Computer and Video Game Archive, thanks to Engineering Librarian and Video Game Archivist Dave Carter.
UM’s Computer and Video Game Archive has curated around 35 classic and current-gen platforms and more than 3,000 different games. While having “one of everything” is the goal of any collection, the logistics of acquiring every game (new and old) for every system (new and old) makes reaching that feat a far-fetched ambition. Carter said that “our realistic goal is to be sort of representative of the history of video games, what was important — what was interesting, and then, not only to preserve the games, but also to preserve the game playing experience.” The archive is meant to be “useable” as anyone who ventures to UM’s library can play at a variety of game stations along with era-appropriate monitors and displays (I can already smell the wood-paneled televisions with tuning knobs). While many visit the archive for leisure (because, I don’t know…THEY’RE VIDEO GAMES), many students have used the collection as research for various topics ranging from music composition to the effects of texting while driving while using a racing game and steering wheel accessory on the Xbox 360.
Click here for a video of the collection. It’s AH-MAZE-ZING!!