New Museum Chronicles the History of Video Games and Nintendo's Arrival to America

BEGIN SLIDESHOW

'Preserving video games has all kinds of challenges that other mediums don't have,' says the founder of the nonprofit Video Game History Foundation.

The Video Game History Foundation Library
NEXT
1 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
NEXT
2 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
NEXT
3 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
NEXT
4 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
NEXT
5 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
NEXT
6 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
NEXT
7 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
NEXT
8 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
NEXT
9 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
NEXT
10 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
NEXT
11 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
NEXT
12 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
13 / 13
The Video Game History Foundation Library
  • ---Shares

Video games have come a long way. In the 1980s, the Nintendo brought its NES console to North America and the modern home gaming industry really grew up. As of 2015, the industry was worth about $23.5 billion.

But while other forms of media, such as film, are viewed as serious works and catalogued at the National Archives, no one has made a formal effort to preserve the history of video games. Frank Cifaldi wants to change that.

The former games journalist is the founder of The Video Game History Foundation, "a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to cataloging, digitizing and preserving the history of video games."

Related: Nintendo Is Leaving Its Comfort Zone, and We're All Better Off

“Preserving video games has all kinds of challenges that other mediums don't have,” Cifaldi told Polygon. “If we're talking about the notion of preserving a film, then it's -- I'm simplifying, because there is expense involved in this -- but it's really just finding the best print, scanning it and restoring it, and then you have a copy of the film. With a video game, it's really not that easy."

It's fitting that the organization's first special collection -- The Nintendo USA NES Launch Collection -- focuses on Nintendo's arrival in America, as that was a pivotal moment in the history of modern gaming.

Click through the slideshow to see samples from the collection, which spotlights the Japanese company's little Robotic Operating Buddy (R.O.B.) and includes materials such as Nintendo marketing, advertisements and press coverage.

An early Nintendo device, the Advanced Basic System.
A prototype system Nintendo showed at the 1985 Consumer Electronics Show.
A Nintendo display in a unidentified mall.
A Nintendo display in New York City's FAO Schwarz.
A Nintendo display in New York City's FAO Schwarz.
Press coverage of Nintendo from 1985.
A brochure teasing Nintendo's new home system.
A 1987 Nintendo ad.
A script for Nintendo spokesman Howard Phillips.
A 1985 Nintendo ad.
A 1985 Toys "R" Us ad.
A piece of swag from the 1985 CES.
A pin from a Nintendo launch party.

Previous Slide

Start Slideshow

Next Slide