The National Videogame Museum's opening has been teased for several months now, but now it finally has a firm date. The Frisco, Texas museum will be opening its doors on April 2.
The facility is being touted as the only museum dedicated to the history of videogames, and will feature more than 100,000 consoles, games, and artifacts from throughout the medium's history. Among the highlights are the Atari Mindlink controller - of which there are only two known in the world - a Sega Neptune prototype, and a Nintendo World Championships cartridge. The museum was originally announced for December 2015; but with construction continuing into the new year, its debut was pushed back into April.
This isn't the first time videogame history has been the focus of a museum exhibition. The Smithsonian Art Museum featured The Art of Video Games in 2012, and Oakland is home to the non-profit Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment. Nevertheless, The National Videogame Museum is extremely ambitious; and more importantly, permanent.
The museum is the product of Sean Kelly, Joe Santulli, and John Hardie, all of whom have been archiving games since the 1980s. They conceived of the National Videogame Museum as a permanent home for their traveling exhibitions.
As for why they chose Frisco, Kelly told Dallas Morning News, "We looked there and we talked to people from several different municipalities in that area and they had some interest in it, but nobody was nearly as excited about it as Frisco was."
A bit out of the way, maybe, for gamers who want to see the museum for themselves. But if towns like Canton, Ohio and Cooperstown, New York can be shrines for football and baseball, then maybe Frisco can be the same for video games. We'll know soon.
Another step forward for the medium's preservation
In the meantime, the National Videogame Museum is another step for the preservation of gaming history. With academics and industry professionals too often treating the medium as disposable, hobbyists have had to fill the gap.
The National Videogame Museum's large collection makes it a good educational showcase while ensuring that certain artifacts - like the aforementioned Sega Neptune prototype - are properly preserved. Still, there's plenty of work to be done across the board.
By offering the medium's history a spiritual home, though, Kelly and company have taken another necessary step forward in ensuring that gaming is treated with the respect that it deserves.