[SIGCIS-Members] Company archives of 1980s-1990s computer game companies?

Gleb J. Albert gleb.albert at uzh.ch
Sat Sep 8 21:52:53 PDT 2018

Dear colleagues and list members,

This is a question that has kept me busy for quite some time, yet I am 
afraid I might have missed some crucial bit of information, and this is 
why I would like to address it to you.

Are there any preservation institutions (archives, museums etc., apart 
from The Strong Museum / National Museum of Play in Rochester/NY) that 
host either company archives of computer game companies or personal 
papers of people involved in the production and marketing of home 
computer games in the 1980s and early 1990s?

As I already mentioned on this list back in February, I am doing a 
post-doc research project on the transnational history of 
(non-commercial, low scale) home computer games piracy before the mass 
availability of the Internet, and, of course, the perspective of the 
back-then games industry is crucial in this question. Of course, the 
industry back then was extremely volatile - when companies went 
bankrupt, the last thing they thought about was preserving their 
archives (in the case of Psygnosis, for example, as far as I know 
everything was simply dumped). And those very few 1980s companies which 
are still active are very seclusive about their archives (which is 
sort-of understandable, given the retromania of today and their possible 
hopes of reviving/porting old titles).

Nevertheless, the papers of Broderbund, Sierra On-Line, and a couple of 
other companies luckily ended up at The Strong - and to my knowledge, 
this is the only public institution that hosts materials like these. But 
maybe I missed some essential info? Are there any other holdings I am 
not aware of, particularly concerning the European games industry?

I would be very thankful for any hints (as well as for contacts to 
former game studio and/or publisher/distributor folks who still might 
have kept their business papers).

Best wishes,

Dr. Gleb J. Albert
Historisches Seminar, Universität Zürich
Forschergruppe "Medien und Mimesis"

Universität Zürich
Historisches Seminar
Culmannstr. 1
CH-8006 Zürich

Tel. +41-446346187

Review editor: H-Soz-Kult, review team "History of Knowledge" - 

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