Collecting the history of video games

Ahead of the NFSA's Digital Directions conference, screenhub talks to Jon-Paul Dyson of The Strong National Museum of Play.

In September, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia announced that they would begin collecting Australian video games for archival preservation for the first time. This marks a turning point in the institution’s approach to video games.

Historically, many cultural institutions have struggled to collect video games as cultural artefacts, but for CEO Jan Müller, the decision reflected a simple cultural truth: ‘We aim to be the national leader in collecting multimedia and new media content, and it would be impossible to accurately represent modern life without games. It is essential that games be collected alongside other audiovisual media, to ensure their continued preservation and access.’ So far, so straightforward; but as always, the devil’s in the details.

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Jini Maxwell is a writer and curator who lives in Naarm. They are an assistant curator at ACMI, where they also host the Women & Non-binary gamers club. They write about videogames and the people who make them. You can find them on Twitter @astroblob

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