Ms. Pacman found! She’s at the International Center for the History of Electronic Games.

Electronic games are hot one minute and gone the next. New titles come and go. But where do they go? Here. Let’s visit the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

The International Center for the History of Electronic Games® (ICHEG) at The Strong collects, studies, and interprets video games, other electronic games, and related materials and the ways in which electronic games are changing how people play, learn, and connect with each other, including across boundaries of culture and geography.

ICHEG defines electronic games broadly to include video games, computer games, console games, arcade games, handheld games, and toys that combine digital and traditional play.

At more than 40,000 items and growing, the ICHEG collections constitute arguably the most comprehensive public assemblage of electronic games and game-related historical materials in the United States and among the largest in the world. In addition to games and the platforms on which they are played, the collections include game packaging and advertising, game-related publications, game-inspired consumer products and other items that illustrate the impact of electronic games on people’s lives, and personal and business papers of key figures in the electronic games industry.

The ICHEG collections are also the only ones anywhere that are housed alongside and linked directly with a world-class collection of hundreds of thousands of board and role-playing games, toys, and other artifacts of play, countless numbers of which have inspired and informed the creation and development of electronic games.

— ICHEG

Jon-Paul Dyson is in charge of the neverending process of chronicling the ongoing evolution of video games. It’s a job he is uniquely well-qualified to perform. He loves what he does. 

“We don’t have a lot of information on the Roman world,” Dyson says. “The written information we do have was, in a sense, emulated. It was copied from original papyrus scrolls onto another medium. Then copied again, copied again, copied again. Oftentimes in the process, errors would creep in. But that’s how things have been preserved.

”When you get to the Middle Ages, they’re not writing on papyrus anymore; they’re writing on parchment. It’s much more durable to record things on. It had a good chance of surviving until today.”

Not being one to ignore history, Dyson vowed to learn from it. He set out to find video games’ parchment. He set out to build a modern Library of Alexandria where the papyrus wouldn’t erode — a place where future researchers and game designers could come to find that the information they’d need would be intact.

— Polygon

For more on ICHEG, read Back to the Future: Preserving the History of Video Games by Mike Mahardy at Polygon. It’s an excellent overview.

If you’d like to visit ICHEG and the Strong National Museum of Play, here’s how to get there

 

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