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Have you ever seen a ColecoVision? What about a Magnavox Odyssey? Long before the Xbox ever came into existence, classic video game hardware came from many companies desperate to capture the arcade experience in the home machine. But, after the North American video game crash of 1983, many of those companies — and their pristine consoles — faded away, resigned to maintenance only by passionate collectors.
But one photographer is trying to make it easy for the entire internet to have access to high-resolution images of these relics of gaming — along with more modern, mainstream consoles — with a Kickstarter campaign for the Vanamo Online Game Museum.
The Kickstarter campaign’s creator, Evan Amos, began photographing game hardware on behalf of Wikipedia after seeing the disappointing, low-resolution images available for most pages. Since beginning his project, Amos has been able to shoot high-quality photos of dozens of different game consoles and peripherals, spanning several decades and game hardware generations, which are available under the Creative Commons License for use anywhere. Amos has thus far been doing the project out of his own pocket, and receiving no compensation for his work — but he said that suits him just fine.
“It’s a crazy trade off for a professional photographer, but this is exactly what I do, because my passion for video games and photography outweighs any potential financial gain.”Amos wrote in an op-ed for GamaSutra about his project.
The Vanamo Online Game Museum would not only allow any internet user to view and use the photos of games inside, but would also come with an extensive history of each console, as well as facts about its development. Amos’ campaign funds will go directly towards acquisition of consoles, both new and already photographed, to allow for expanded photographs that include meticulous tear-downs of each console. In addition, Amos will work with the NYU Game Center and The International Center for the History of Electronic Games to house the collection once it’s completed for the public to see rare and mint-condition consoles up close.
As of this writing, the campaign has hit its initial target goal of $8,500, but further contributions will go towards specific stretch goals — including non-American consoles and little-known consoles that have slipped through the cracks of digital history.