The National Videogame Museum Collection
Ours is a digital age. It’s an age of zeros and ones, data and code. And what could be more virtual than the videogame? This is entertainment literally made of bits and bytes, pixels and sprites.
But videogames aren’t just data or code. They’re also things.
And we think that to really understand the past, present and future of videogames, we need to remember those things – all those consoles, computers, cartridges, cassettes, collectibles (and other things that don’t begin with ‘c’).
That’s why we have spent years carefully collecting and curating (and doing other things that don’t begin with ‘c’) a vast array of physical objects that help to tell the story of how videogames are made; how they’re bought, sold and marketed; and, perhaps most importantly, how they’re played and played with.
Come and explore some of our unique, one-of-a-kind objects like the wonderful Nintendo Entertainment System console signed by its creator Masayuki Uemura, or the legendary Glitch Pokémon ‘MissingNo.’ lovingly recreated by a fan in Hama Beads!
Marvel at some of our collection of development and test machines on which your favourite games were made. Gaze longingly at systems, controllers and software you never knew existed and bathe in the nostalgic glow of computers, consoles and handhelds you once played on every day.
There are almost 300 objects on display at the National Videogame Museum, here are just a few of them…
Super Mario is instantly recognisable by his red overalls and full, brown moustache. Yet, fantastic facial hair aside, perhaps the most explicit expression of the Italian plumber’s identity is his iconic red cap.
This object should delight anyone with an interest in ancient history (ahem). A personal favourite in our collection, the 1972 (1973 for us in the UK) Magnavox Odyssey is the grandfather of home video game consoles. The console was created by Ralph H. Baer, who had begun the designing process in 1966!
Developing a videogame is often a difficult and time-consuming endeavour. Some games have taken almost two decades to develop – yes, we’re all looking at you Shenmue III. These distinct LEGO Development Wrap Trophies are made as a playful recognition for the tremendously hard work that goes into producing videogames.
This Gacha figurine is a physical illustration of how Pokemon realized the global economic potential of videogames as a product. The merchandising machine of film franchises such as Star Wars, with figurines of iconic characters like Darth Vader, provides a perfect blueprint for Pokemon.
From the horizontal and vertical dials of the venerable Magnavox Odyssey, to the motion controls of a Nintendo Wii remote (seriously, please wear the wrist strap), there is a diverse family of videogame controllers that translate our button presses or over-enthusiastic tennis swings into on-screen action. How did you hold yours?
The Lemmings Adventure Gamebooks illustrate that there are plenty of interesting physical objects within videogame history that straddle different mediums.
Over the years the Atari 2600 game E.T. The Extra Terrestrial has got a bad rap. It has become commonplace to blame it for the US market crash.