The Video Game History Foundation has officially launched on Patreon.
The VGHF is a non-profit organization founded by former games journalist, developer, and historian Frank Cifaldi.
“We’re hoping that this is merely the humble start to what will become a larger organization,” states Cifaldi on his patreon page. “I want to grow the Foundation into something that lives well beyond my lifetime, and affects some real change in the way that the industry treats its past.”
Cifaldi has a long history in game preservation, being one of the founders of the website Lost Levels, which is dedicating to the archiving of unreleased video games.
“Video games matter, and we want to make sure their roots are never forgotten. I’m doing this with or without you – this is my job now, for the rest of my life. But the more help I’m able to to get now, the more we can accomplish.”
The VGHF has started its efforts by digitally releasing The NES Launch Collection, an archive of materials which chronicled the pre-release and launch information on the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
Included in the archive are scanned trade ads, promotional materials, product demo scripts, and items from the 1986 US launch party of the NES.
Cifaldi is joined by several big names in the gaming industry at the VGHF. His founding board members include Simon Carless, the executive director of GDC, and Chris Melissinos, the founder of PastPixels LLC and the curator of the “Art of Video Games” Exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2012.
The Foundation’s website notes that most of the archive will be transformed into a digital library, allowing easy access to educators, researchers, and historians high-quality material including high-resolution, lossless scans of game packaging, documentation, and periodicals for research purposes. The primary focus for the VGHF is to right now archive data stored on CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, EPROMs and magnetic disks, due to the high risk of this data being lost in the near future.
The archive will also be working with several museums that include the preservation of video games, including the Strong Museum of Play, the Library of Congress and the National Videogame Museum, among others.
Video game preservation is a very important part of gaming culture, and it is good to see Cifaldi and others take the initiative and start archiving as much information as possible, especially as a lot of these games, promo materials or other items slowly become lost or stay in the hands of private collectors. As an actual historian, I approve of Cifaldi and his efforts here, and I wholeheartedly support them to continue their work.
Their Patreon is currently receiving over $1,000 in donations a month, and I most certainly will be adding my name to that list.
What do you think, though? Leave your comments below.