Preserving Gaming's Legacy: The National Toy Hall of Fame's Game Section

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Preserving Gaming's Legacy: The National Toy Hall of Fame's Game Section

When's the last time you saw an arcade cabinet of “Revolution X”? Back in the 1990s, you'd find one of these most anywhere there were games to be played. Ever wonder where your old Super Nintendo was? Think you could even find it again if you wanted to? And that's just the beginning of the retro gaming fun; think about all the games that have long since become abandonware, or games that the original publishers either no longer acknowledge or support, even assuming that said publishers are even still in existence. The National Toy Hall of Fame, meanwhile—currently housed in Rochester, New York's Strong Museum—is set to help address that issue with its new World Video Game Hall of Fame.

The World Video Game Hall of Fame is set to be based on the National Toy Hall of Fame, and use a similar format to select and display the various games that will be contained therein. Though anyone will be able to nominate games for inclusion, the final selection will be performed by an internal advisory committee made up of “...journalists, scholars and other video game experts” based on a set of criteria ranging from longevity to influence on other games' design. The Strong, meanwhile, has a particular advantage here in that it already reportedly boasts a collection of over 55,000 video games and related artifacts, ranging from corporate records to personal papers describing the creation of said games.

This is great news for a lot of reasons. Perhaps the biggest of these is that the industry moves with such staggering speed that many of the developments that were shiny new only seven to 10 years prior are suddenly hopelessly out of date. That's an incredible rate of development, and when an industry in general moves that fast, it's not out of line to believe that it's not taking a lot of time to preserve its major artifacts, and some of these are indeed major artifacts. How many of us remember the staggering array of games that we played as youngsters, and wonder where those games went? Ever remember playing a game with your friends in the arcade, and wondering how to get those memories back? Good luck finding an arcade any more, let alone arcade games. Sure, there are some for sale, but with each cabinet costing upward of $2,000 or more per unit, it's easy to see that there won't be many preserved without significant resources in play. This kind of move, meanwhile, helps to protect the history of a rapidly-moving industry, and history is one thing it's had in superabundance.

Only time, meanwhile, will tell if the Strong proves up to the task of holding the huge history of video gaming in its vaults, but from the looks of things, it's well on its way to doing just that. And that's a point that will leave gamers everywhere better off...particularly if the Strong leaves the Free Play buttons in the on position.

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