The first class is being inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame and it’s being led by one of the giants of the genre–Pac Man.
The video game ranks as one of the most popular, influential and fondly remembered games of all-time and will be the first game to go into the Hall of Fame, according ot USA Today.
Pac-Man is one of 29 inaugural inductees into the hall. Others include Donkey Kong creator Shigeru Miyamoto, Namco founder Masaya Nakamura, the Microsoft Xbox design team and competitive game champions Billy Mitchell, Steve Wiebe and Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel.
The International Video Game Hall of Fame is located in Ottumwa, Iowa. In the early ’80s, the city’s Twin Galaxies arcade, owned by Walter Day, emerged as a national destination for competitions. The arcade is now gone, but TwinGalaxies.com remains as a global video game scorekeeper.
Supporters hope the activities spur fundraising for a Smithsonian-style museum for the Hall (www.ivghof.com). The goal: to collect at least one each of the more than 100,000 coin arcade and home video games produced in the last 25 years.
Day and city officials liken the project to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. “This is something Tokyo, Los Angeles or New York should be doing, but it is Ottumwa that is stepping up and taking a swing,” he says.
Already existing archives and libraries are turning their sights to game preservation, too:
• Home video games. The University of Michigan’s Art, Architecture and Engineering Library video game archive has amassed about 2,000 games for 20 different systems since opening in fall 2008. Faculty and students “are beginning to be interested in video games as an academic subject,” says archivist David Carter.
•Game industry documents. The University of Texas Video Game Archive has a growing repository of publications, concept art, posters and extensive documentation from game developers. How games were created “is really important culturally,” says assistant professor Megan Winget.
•Virtual worlds. University researchers at Illinois, Maryland, Stanford and the Rochester Institute of Technology are researching how to digitally preserve video games and online virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft. The project is partly funded by the Library of Congress, which has a growing collection of thousands of video games among its films and audio recording holdings. .
Says Preserving Virtual Worlds investigator Jerome McDonough of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: “If you can figure out how to preserve games, including some of the unusual input and control devices, you’ve gone a long way to figuring out how to preserve software in general.”