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University of Michigan’s video game library

Got to talking with a friend of mine who works within the museum system at the University of Michigan and yesterday she was telling me about a special collections that U of M is doing for old video / arcade games. Just like a book, you can go into a special room in the library, sit down, and an attendant will pop an old video game of your choosing, into the system of your choosing and you can relive a little bit of your childhood.

University of Michigan Logo

It’s every ‘researchers’ excuse to have video game consoles at their disposal

There a couple of mentions about the video game archive at the library, one article from The Daily (the local campus newspaper) – “Library opens video game archive“, and one post on the art & architecture engineering library website requesting donations – “We want your old video games“.

Sounds like currently the library of video games isn’t being publicized, and the hours are limited from 1-4 pm on weekdays but that sounds like an excuse to skip class and go get silly on Space Invaders.

What is my original contribution to this news release? Compilation of photos from inside the location hopefully showing the shelves of game and consoles at the Duderstadt Center and I wanted to make a little bit of a mention to console enthusiasts out there that may not stumble across this information otherwise.

University of Michigan Video Games Special Library Collection Photo 1University of Michigan Video Games Special Library CollectionUniversity of Michigan Video Games Special Library Collection Photo 2University of Michigan Video Games Special Library Collection Photo 3

Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I would say that my assessment of what will be the biggest struggle will be keeping the environment a place where everyone will want to go. Keeping it clean, not crowded and looking / smelling nice. I wouldn’t want to go in there and play games in a crowded space with people standing around, especially if they are some of the lower end of the stereotype of the type of people video games can attract.

Back to the project potential

Think about this. Universities are teeming with special grants and funding for all sorts of cool projects. According to the Daily article $40,000 of existing library funds were set aside for this special collection. $20,000 were used to renovate the room, and the rest is left to buy games! Can you imagine having $20,000 that you have to spend on video games? What a dream job.

Plus, there is a $10,000 annual budget to add to the collection. Factor in that there is the posting requesting donations and there is a tremendously varied demographic in the Ann Arbor area and you have the perfect situation to find a bunch of games through pack rats and exiting students that may be hard to find otherwise. You have to believe that some old professor on campus has got a whole bunch of random stuff tucked away just waiting to donate it to a good cause. They may even have some rare prototype ROMs, code, or hand written notes that could be donated as additional items to exhibit in the room. (The collection is asking for magazines already) Professors are weird like that in their connections to the business world.

There should be video game techs in the area

Then, there is the Pinball Pete’s on South University. That means that there is at least a market for arcade / video game techs in the area so the University shouldn’t have a problem maintaing the collection. I am sure that they could just have the game maintained by students in the EE department as well.

So, let’s review. A video game collection that you can play for free, with a $10,000 budget to buy and maintain games. There is no better place around to try out some games that you might want for your own collection or play some rare games that only the University of Michigan has the resources to drum up.

What console systems the University of Michigan has

  • Atari 2600
  • Atari 7800
  • Atari Jaguar
  • Intellivision
  • Nintendo 64
  • Nintendo NES
  • Nintendo Super NES
  • Sony Playstation
  • Sony Playstation 2
  • Sega Dreamcast
  • Sega Genesis
  • Xbox

My friend told me that they also have a Wii, and I am sure there are other systems that will be added to this list. How awesome would it be if the University could get a Vectorex with all of the old games, all of the overlays for the games and a set of the working Goggles.

Interested in playing video games at U of M

Right on the main drag on State street, this might be most ideal for students within walking distance. But if you can walk, you can park for free in the blocks north of Huron and walk a mile or so to the museum.

Here is a Google Maps link to the Duderstadt Center. Get over there if you can during weekdays from 1-4 pm, or just wait for the officially unveiling to take place in November of 2008.

Who’s been to the video game collection?

I can’t say anything great about my education from the University of Michigan, but I give them props for this. Anyone been over to see what the collection has? Are there any hard to find video games that the library already has? Does anyone out there know of any other universities other than Michigan that are already doing a similar program?

Here are some similar arcade posts

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Comments
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I am curious as to whether your university has a public gaming venue for the students. We are looking into having some systems installed in our new student center in public areas and are wondering how other universities are approaching this especially in terms of copyright privileges, etc. Any information you have would be most helpful, thanks! ~ Cyd

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@Cyd:

I am not actually affiliated in any way with University of Michigan’s video game library project. However, I know someone on campus that is involved with the library system if you would like to contact them, maybe they can put you in touch with someone.

Either way, I would be interested to know the answer to your question about public gaming installments. Come back and let us know what you find out.

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Great… I just graduated from the U of M in April… and now they’re opening up a video game museum?!? Guess I missed the boat, there. Otherwise, I would definitely try to get in on that project.

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How would you get in on that project? You would try to get employed? What area of study did you graduate in?

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