Please note that we are just beginning this phase of our project. To date, the online archive is incomplete and we are working to photograph and prepare many of our items for inclusion in this archive later this year.
In our collection dating back to the 1970s, we have more than 500 unique game cartridges, compact discs, DVDs, and other formats of gaming software. We have a collection of more than 70 gaming consoles, vintage computing and gaming hardware, and hand held gaming devices. The collection also includes a contemporary library of games studies literature and scholarship and an as yet processed but growing collection of vintage games magazines, player guides, brochures, boxes, and other games ephemera.
To visit the collection or if you'd like to play the games in our center please visit us on the campus of CSULB we're located in FO2-209. (Please note physical acess to the game center and playable archive is closed during the covid pandemic. We look forward to seeing you in Spring 2021)
Core to the Center’s mission is the creation of student-centered “playable” archive of gaming technology and software. This Omeka website acts as a catalog of the physical objects in our collection. The archive will house both vintage video game systems and software donated to the Center by the public or bought through the Center’s funds. There are also plans to work with students to build retro emulation machines and arcade cabinets that will run emulation software for older coin-operated video games and console systems.
A playable experience such as this offers researchers and students the opportunity to write about games from a player’s perspective. Experiencing the source material helps create more accurate histories of these games and their meaning within a specific cultural context. Having a playable archive of games also means exposing researchers and students to the evolution of game mechanics in video games. Offering them a glimpse at how mechanics can influence narrative (the history told in these games) and how narrative can influence the creation of new gaming mechanics.
As well as creating a playable archive, preservation and access to these important cultural objects is a key part of our archive. Recent events and announcements by Sony and other large video game companies has revealed issues with longevity and playability of hardware platforms and software that are reliant on the industry maintaining backwards compatibility. It's clear that preservation and access to older games and intellectual property is not high on the priority list for large games corporations. Archival efforts like ours will ensure that older hardware is maintained and made available to the public.
The archive's collection is also used create, stream and post critical “let’s play” videos, bringing critical analysis of video games to a broader audience.
Please consider giving to the Archive we accept both physical and monetary donations.
Donations to the Center's Playable Archive are gladly accepted. We're always looking for vintage games, software, consoles, video game cabinets (working or not) and any other video game collectibles you may want to see maintained and preserved. To donate to the archive please contact the directors by email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.