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Center for American History
The Center for American History at UT Austin announces new Videogame Archive
Austin, TX – April 19, 2007 – The Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with leaders in the video and computer game industry, has announced the formation of the UT Videogame Archive, the newest addition to the Center's extensive media collection which documents and preserves contemporary and historical media for research and educational purposes.
"Several key individuals in videogame development and related enterprises who recognize the importance of preserving the history of game development – and particularly the role that Texas has played in it – approached us last fall about establishing an archive dedicated to the evolution of the videogame industry." said Dr. Don Carleton, director of the Center for American History. "After a series of conversations with Richard Garriott of NCsoft, Warren Spector of Junction Point Studios, George Sanger of The Fat Man and Team Fat, and Bill Bottorff of Austin Business Computers, we all agreed that the Center is an ideal home for the archive. We have an international reputation for the caliber and accessibility of our media collections, and we are situated at the heart of the videogame industry in Texas. We are extremely pleased to extend our holdings to include archival material from the industry that is literally driving the future of computer technology."
"The new archive will enhance the potential for collaboration among University departments with emerging videogame curricula," added Brenda Gunn, assistant director for the Center's Research and Collections Division. "This is a natural opportunity for the study of popular culture, art, technology, business, and preservation of digital information to intersect on the UT campus. Classes are already developing in academic areas on campus such as the School of Information; Radio, Television, and Film; Computer Science; and in the College of Liberal Arts.
Among those attending the kickoff reception for the UT Videogame Archive at the Center for America History were (left to right): Bill Bottorff, president, Austin Business Computers, Inc.; Dr. Don Carleton, director, Center for American History; Richard Garriott, executive producer, NCsoft Corp.; Warren Spector, president, Junction Point Studios; George Sanger, game music legend (The Fat Man); and Steve Jackson, president, Steve Jackson Games.
"The UT Videogame Archive joins a number of existing U.S. and European initiatives already in the works to preserve material related to the industry's history," said Gunn. "The Center's archive will enhance the global study of the videogame industry by highlighting the influence of Texas-based developers and entrepreneurs."
In its efforts to build an archive of scholarly and cultural interest, the Center plans to gather materials from all sectors of the industry, including developers, publishers, artists, and manufacturers connected to the videogame industry. In addition to games and equipment, archival materials of interest include paper and digital documentation relating to the conception, development, planning, management, marketing, scripting, technology, design, and other aspects of developing videogames.
More than 50 game developers, programmers, University and City of Austin representatives, as well as individuals from organizations serving the videogame industry, launched the UT Videogame Archive at a reception hosted earlier this year by the Center for American History. At the event, Garriott, Spector, and Sanger announced their plans to contribute their respective materials to the new archive.
"The fact is that the history of the videogame business is being written every day and, sadly, being lost just about as quickly," said Spector. "We need to step up now and recognize the cultural and academic importance of videogames. Luckily, we're still a young enough medium that nearly all of our serious practitioners are still alive and available to be interviewed and invited to contribute to this archive of research and reference materials."
Next steps include an event during the Game Developer's Conference in Austin this fall to raise awareness of and financial support for the UT Videogame Archive.
"Generating the financial support for the staff, equipment, supplies, and facilities that will be required to curate, maintain, and make the archive accessible is our primary focus right now," said Carleton. "Dozens of developers right here in Austin are eager to place their material with us as soon as we have the infrastructure in place."
As an organized research unit of The University of Texas at Austin, the Center for American History facilitates, sponsors, and supports teaching, research, and public education. In support of its mission, the Center acquires, preserves, and makes available for research archival, artifact, and rare book collections and sponsors exhibitions, conferences, Web sites, documentaries, oral history projects, grant-funded research, and publications.
For more information, contact Ramona Kelly, associate director for Communications and Development at the Center for American History (firstname.lastname@example.org). Information about the archive will be updated as available at http://www.utvideogamearchive.org.