Smithsonian Launching Video Game Pioneers Archive

The Smithsonian recently announced that its Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation will be launching Video Game Pioneers Archive, a collection of recorded oral-history interviews and unique materials concerning the first-generation inventors of the video game industry. The exhibit won’t just be focusing on success stories, but failures as well, noting constraints and “alternative development plans.”

Christopher Weaver, founder of Bethesda and lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Wesleyan University, has been appointed a Lemelson Center research associate and is conducting oral-history interviews for the project.

The advisory group includes not only other well known gamer developers like Richard Garriott, but the History of Science and Technology, Standford University Libraries curator Henry Lowood and International Center for the History of Electronic Games, Strong Museum director Jon-Paul Dyson. It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that Garriott will be one of the developers featured in the first two year phase of the project which intends to cover game inventors and designers from the 1960s and 1970s.

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Our Thoughts

As the Lemelson Center’s goal is improving the education of the public in terms of tech, economic, and social changes in order to empower them, the Video Game Pioneers Archive doesn’t sound too far fetched, but for plugged in gamers, it may seem unnecessary, as the internet already gives us access to so much of this. However, having a physical place to go and see or hear these things ensures that those who don’t already understand games or have access to them (like poor foreign college students or seniors who only thought games were violence simulators) can be exposed to them. It’s also another nice point to drive home when someone questions the artistic validity of our hobby, as museums and exhibits focusing on gaming are becoming more frequent. such as Oakland, California’s Kickstarted Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment.


Source: Smithsonian Website Announcement

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