Remembrance of games past: the Popular Memory Archive
Swalwell, Melanie Lorraine
de Vries, Denise Bernadette
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Games are one of the most significant cultural forms of our times and yet they are poorly documented in Australia and New Zealand. Knowledge about the history of games is overwhelmingly held by private collectors and fans, with ephemera and other primary sources located amongst the general public. This paper presents and discusses the Popular Memory Archive (PMA), an online portal of the "Play It Again" game history and preservation project. As well as providing a way to disseminate some of the team's research, the PMA taps into what is, effectively, a collective public archive by providing a technique for collecting information, resources and memories from the public about 1980s computer games. Digital games are more than inert code; they come to life in the act of play. Collecting games and other artefacts and preserving them is thus only part of the construction of a history about games. The PMA is designed to work with online retro gamer communities and fans, and this paper reflects on the PMA as a method for collecting the memories of those who lived and played their way through this period.