Videogame Heritage Society : A Subject Specialist Network

Category: News and Updates

VHS Guest Blog #3: Why Conserving Videogame Heritage is (almost) Impossible II – Álvaro V. Guisado

Álvaro Vázquez Guisado is Conservator-Restorer of Cultural Heritage from Seville University.

A brilliant follow-up to his previous research on the practicalities of preserving physical videogame material. Álvaro discusses the challenges faced by all preservation practitioners – the common and natural degradation of predominantly-plastic materials.

The VHS Tapes+ Episode 1: Joe Dickens

We are pleased to introduce a new slate of talks for the VHS, entitled “The VHS Tapes+”

For the first offering in the series, VHS lead Mikey Pennington sat down with Nottingham Trent University lecturer, National Videogame Museum guru, and arcade game connoisseur Joe Dickens to talk about his breadth of expertise in game preservation, creation, and education.

Joe offers insight into his work at them NVM and his passion for preserving and collecting arcade machines. We also dive into his history with the GameCity Festival and his lectureship at Confetti at Nottingham Trent University.

Finally we talk about his leading role in the creation of Gamer Gamer, a comedy show with videogames, illustrating that the preservation of digital games can also be tied to the creation of diverse cultural artefacts that celebrate the medium.

The VHS Tapes #4: Preserving Japanese Videogames with Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto

In the fourth iteration of The VHS Tapes series, we have an exceptionally special treat from our esteemed friends in Japan!

Prof. Koichi Hosoi and Prof. Akinori Nakamura, working at Ritsumeikan University and the Ritsumeikan Center for Game Studies (RCGS) in Kyoto have created a presentation on their current preservation projects. 

Prof. Hosoi and Prof. Nakamura discuss the storied history and current work of the Game Archive Project, the RCGS, and the RCGS database.


The presentation offers wonderful insight into the diverse and comprehensive preservation efforts of the RCGS team.

From physical preservation, gameplay preservation, and preservation through emulation – a project that was officially sanctioned by Nintendo themselves(!!) – this talk demonstrates the many viable ways that preservation can be conducted.

The talk also includes an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Ritsumeikan’s archive and storage of over 9000 items including Japanese videogames, consoles, media, and ephemera.

The VHS Launch the ‘VHS Collector’s Edition’ Series

The VHS is delighted to launch a new interview series that focuses on exploring the preservation expertise of private collectors.

In our first edition of the series, we are joined by Norman Rowan, a Nintendo Game & Watch collector from Scotland who has been collecting Game & Watch since 2012.

The interview covers Norman’s knowledge of his complete range of Game & Watch, including a close look into country-specific distributor box variations, factory shipping boxes, games with carded or blister packaging, and other rarities!

As well as getting a fantastic sense of how Norman stores and cares for his Game & Watch collection, this new series also provides an opportunity for private collectors to showcase the brilliant and often quirky social and cultural history of these machines.

You can find the full interview transcript here!

The VHS Tapes #3: Preserving Sheffield’s Game Heritage with Conor Clarke

The VHS Tapes is the Videogame Heritage Society’s monthly series of 2021 online events funded by Art Fund. 

The NVM’s own Conor Clarke, discussing the joys of the PS Vita (quite rightly)

In our third episode of the The VHS Tapes, ‘assured host’ Mikey is joined by the National Videogame Museum’s Conor Clarke.

We talk about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the museum. We also discuss how we – as a heritage organisation – can preserve the many divergent aspects of digital game culture.

Alongside a brief mention of the mighty PS Vita, we also talk about the uniqueness of the Sheffield gaming scene and the city’s unique history within the medium. Anticipate lengthy discourse surrounding Monty Mole!

The VHS Tapes #2: Exhibiting Digital Games with Foteini Aravani

The VHS Tapes is the Videogame Heritage Society’s monthly series of 2021 online events funded by Art Fund.  

Every month, Mikey – a curator at the National Videogame Museum, and de facto caretaker manager of the VHS – will be in conversation with a special guest from our network about preserving digital game culture and heritage.

An early taste of summer in March with Foteini Aravani talking about digital games.

In our March instalment of The VHS Tapes, we spoke to the awesome Foteini Aravani, Digital Curator at the Museum of London.

We talk about the extensive range of challenges involved in collecting digital games that depict London, or/and that are made by Londoners.
We also elaborate on methods for showcasing these objects through digital exhibitions and displays.

The VHS Tapes #1: Reimagining Videogame Hardware with the Retro Hour Podcast

The VHS Tapes is the Videogame Heritage Society’s monthly series of 2021 online events funded by Art Fund.

Every month a National Videogame Museum curator will be in conversation with a special guest from our subject specialist network and beyond about preserving & sharing videogame heritage.

Dan Wood’s Prized Possession: an Atari Jaguar

Ravi Abbott versus the Raspberry Pi

In this inaugural episode of The VHS Tapes, we were joined by 2/3rds of the brilliant Retro Hour Podcast. Our guests, Ravi Abbott and Dan Wood discuss their extensive collection of unique video game hardware and experiences with the medium.

We pay particular attention to how obsolete forms of digital media and digital game hardware have been reimagined for contemporary uses. Expect cameos from a modified Raspberry Pi and Atari Jaguar.

Also indulge in some zoom schadenfreude, as we witness Mikey’s visible regret at parting with his old Sony CRT TV.

National Videogame Museum wins Art Fund support for VHS

Sheffield 1200 05/06/2020: The National Videogame Museum is proud to announce it has won support from Art Fund to support the development of its new subject specialist network – the Videogame Heritage Society.

The Videogame Heritage Society (VHS) launched in February 2020 at an event held at BFI Southbank. The society coordinates approaches to the challenges of collecting and preserving videogames, and brings together both leading institutions and private collectors to help share knowledge and develop best practice. The Art Fund support will directly enable the creation of new ‘explainer’ resources, short-form pieces aimed at simply bringing the ideas and challenges of videogame collection to a broader audience. In addition to the explainers, the VHS will also launch a series of online seminars, leading to an international conference.

More information can be found at artfund.org

The VHS has already drawn interest and membership from over 20 leading heritage institutions and museums such as Science Museum Group, British Library, Museum of London, Centre for Computing History, Bath Spa University and, importantly, a host of independent collectors and specialists.

Iain Simons, NVM said- “On behalf of our staff, trustees and partners, I’d like to thank Art Fund for this important grant that recognises the need for the UK’s first digital Subject Specialist Network. We have gathered an amazing group of institutions and individual collectors to share knowledge in a field of great interest to the public, many institutions and collectors, but which has so far not won much art funding. It’s important to recognise the role of private collectors. So much specialist knowledge is held within the private, enthusiast community which reaches institutional collectors indirectly. The VHS is a really exciting opportunity for us to help build bridges and learn from each other, so we are delighted to win this funding”.

VHS Membership Form – Now Live!

We’ve had a fantastic first response to the official announcement for the Videogame Heritage Society.

Now, for the next step, the VHS are delighted to announce the release of the VHS Membership Form!

A VHS Membership allows access to the exclusive VHS Discourse Forum; an easy and quick way for our members to interact with each other on all matters of game preservation.

Our forum provides an online venue for crucial discussion, and offers practitioners, institutions, collectors and enthusiasts the opportunity to forge new connections to aid game preservation in the UK and around the world.

As we gather our members, in the future a VHS Membership will also allow unfettered access to our resource library, a bibliography of game preservation sources, and the opportunity to aggregate the brilliant research of our members together in one place.

Sign up today! You can find the VHS Membership Form here.

The VHS Launches at BFI Southbank

The Videogame Heritage Society launched on February 21, 2020 in a special event at BFI Southbank.

Attended by heritage and videogame industry representatives, the event also saw the launch of the new National Videogame Museum White Paper (downloadable from the research and resources area of this site).

“In order to develop as an art form, to become more diverse and reflect all kinds of areas of our lives, and to build a cultural confidence that is sometimes absent, we need to be able to learn about videogames. In order to learn about them, we need to be able to access them and make sense of them. The work we’re doing at the NVM and BGI isn’t out of nostalgia. It’s out of a concern for the future. We want to be able to inspire and educate new kinds of game-makers to make new kinds of games.”

Gina jackson, bgi trustee
BFI CEO Ben Roberts introduces the day

The event was covered on GamesIndustry.biz , which includes some remarks from Ian Livingstone.
The full press release can be found here :

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