Image: Untitled Goose Game (2019). Courtesy: House House
Like film, recorded sound, radio and television before them, video games have had a significant impact on society. Video games are an immersive audiovisual medium that play a major role in contemporary popular culture. They represent artistic, storytelling and technological achievements, as well as an industry that contributes significantly to the Australian economy.
We are developing and preserving a growing collection of video games and their source materials dating back to the birth of the Australian industry in the early 1980s with games like The Hobbit (Beam Software, 1982), up until contemporary releases like Unpacking (Witch Beam, 2021), Hollow Knight (Team Cherry, 2017) and Untitled Goose Game (House House, 2019). These span a variety of technical formats from cassette tape to floppy disk to today’s digitally distributed titles.
Video games face unique preservation challenges as they rely on complex hardware and software systems that become obsolete at much faster rates than other forms of audiovisual media, and without active digital preservation efforts they are at risk of being lost forever.
The NFSA is working to address this by collecting and preserving not just the games themselves, but their source materials, such as source code and assets, prototypes and pre-launch builds, pitch and Game Design Documents and concept/storyboard art; physical materials like storyboards, sketchbooks, design, development and business documentation; publicity material like trailers, dev diaries and documentaries; oral history interviews; and representations of fan culture through online media like podcasts and YouTube video essays.
The national collection is developed through donations and contributions from industry members and the general public. If you would like to contribute to the story of the Australian games industry and have any material from throughout its long history that you think may be of interest – from documentation to hardware, software and ephemera – please get in contact with us.
If you have video games material that you wish to offer the NFSA, please see the Collection offers page.
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