I’ve always considered myself a gaming historian. Although I’m a relatively young gamer, I have a respect and admiration for the games and consoles of yesteryear. As such, the highlight of my E3 2012 experience was the Video Game History Museum. The hardware I saw at that exhibit was astonishing: a functional CalecoVision, a prototype N64 cart, Nintendo’s horrible Power Glove, even a functional Intellivision. Luckily I was able to land an interview with Sean Kelly one of the museum’s directors. We talked about the groups inspirations, his favorite console, and the museum’s plans for the future.
Can you tell our readers who you are?
Kelly: I’m, Sean Kelly. I’m one of the directors of the Video Game History Museum.
What inspired you guys to put this collection together?
Kelly: With all of us, it starts out as trying to get back what we had as kids, and it has become more of a mission than a hobby. We’ve been, myself and my two partners have been collecting personally 25-30, and in the last ten years we’ve made it more of a passion than just a hobby. About two years ago we became an official non-profit, and now we’re actually looking for a place to house the collection.
The Smithsonian has a history of gaming exhibit, but this one seems more in-depth. I saw an Atari Prototype that was never released and a CalecoVision. What’s your favorite console?
Kelly: My favorite console is the Intellivision. In regards to the Smithsonian…the thing about Smithsonian is that they are a giant historical organization that happens to have video game merchandise. What we do at the Video Game History Musuem is video games. We don’t do Pez, baseball cards, or old paintings. We do video games.
I recall watching a video where younger kids were given classic Game Boys and couldn’t figure out what it was. What are your thoughts on that?
Kelly: It’s sad. Younger kids really need to understand where all this stuff came from, it’s important. Not only that, we’re trying to preserve it for educational purposes. All of the design documents that show how this stuff was done is all here. Programmers writing games are astonished to know that some of these games were all done by one person. There are whole teams of guys today.
Last question: Which piece here is the most expensive or most valuable?
Kelly: It’s kind of hard to say. Some of the things we have here have never been sold so there’s no way to know. We have PGP-1 it’s kind of like the predecessor of the Game Genie, but its for Atari 2600. You plug your Atari cartridge into it and it intercepts the data before it goes to the 2600. It allows you to change the data and give yourself infinite lives similar to the Game Genie. We’ve been offered in the range of $10,000, but we certainly wouldn’t sell it. But that’s one of the more valuable things here at the show. This is only about 20% of our archives.
Thanks, sir, its been an honor. You’re doing gaming a service.
Kelly: Thank you, I appreciate it.
The Videogame Museum serve as a nostalgic reminder that shows how far gaming has come. Check out http://www.vghmuseum.org for more information, and enjoy the photo gallery below.