My name is Frank, and I've spent my entire adult life saving video game history.
I've been at it since about 1998, when I was helping to locate, buy, and make digital rips of cartridge games. In 2003 I helped legitimize this practice by founding Lost Levels, the first website dedicated to finding and preserving unreleased video games.
Those early days as a budding software pirate blossomed into a video game industry career that has seen me editing websites like Gamasutra and 1UP, working on a pioneering games-on-demand service called GameTap, and over the last few years, becoming a game developer myself.
Even as I did these things, I kept my preservation work going. I've always considered it my life's work, even while maintaining a day job. But it's just never enough, there's too much to do. To preserve video games the way they deserve, it would have to be someone's job. Which made me think...
What if preserving video game history was my job?
So that's what I'm doing. I founded The Video Game History Foundation last year. We're a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to figuring out how to save as much video game history as we can, and make it accessible to everyone. Our goal is to make sure that storytellers have what they need to be able to tell the story of video games, and we're already working through a tremendous backlog of incredible material.
We're building a digital library of video game history.
Being an historian myself, I know the kinds of materials that historians rely on to tell stories, so that's what we're focusing on right now: gathering, digitizing, and making available video game artifacts, to whoever wants to access it. If you're a historian, that means a wealth of material to work with. If you're not a historian, that means lots of cool old video game stuff to look at and play with.
But that's just the beginning.
We're hoping that this is merely the humble start to what will become a larger organization. I want to grow the Foundation into something that lives well beyond my lifetime, and affects some real change in the way that the industry treats its past.
Video games matter, and we want to make sure their roots are never forgotten. I'm doing this with or without you - this is my job now, for the rest of my life. But the more help I'm able to to get now, the more we can accomplish.