Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Video Game Museums, Huh

Making the rounds this morning I saw a post that was on various gaming sites. Apparently, a group of people are intending to start up a gaming history museum in San Francisco. Now, I think that's a perfectly wonderful thought and why not do it? There are other digital media museums but they're not really on the west coast. However, upon going to their web space and viewing their proposal video my tune changed.

Full disclosure, I don't know any of the people involved in this and completely adore San Francisco... and want to someday create my own gaming museum. Perhaps it's because of the last comment that I am viewing this upstart so harshly. They don't seem to have any true focused idea for what they're doing. They're looking to scrounge up money for a retail outlet-sized space and yet they have their aspirations set way too high. 

They want to have LAN parties and classes on programming/game design. Excuse me? I can understand the desire for interactivity in the museum but a LAN party is not how you do that. Have some games and arcades up for playing, and maybe a small computer space for 8 players at any time. But to have a specific "party" night or time seems hilariously useless. Something that also caught my attention was something about resurrecting servers for games that have long since been offline. Now, I don't know what games they really mean but the big fans of any online games have since found ways around the official servers. Phantasy Star Online is still going strong and so is M.U.L.E.! Even that Sierra On-Line online game world thing (the name completely escapes me) has been brought back. Who are they expecting to play online games with them anyway? I doubt it'd be enough to warrant an entire "fat internet connection". It'd be much nicer to do something along the lines of what Classic Gaming Expo does where they recreate a small living room and hook up consoles to an old analog set (the kind with knobs!) for local multiplayer.   

A retail space is not very large and I wonder what it is they'd choose to display. The guy behind it all said it would display pieces from his collection as well as the collections of those involved. While he seems like a nice guy overall, that sounds like a really conceited thing to say, at least that's how I took it. "Relics from my collection"... Whatever, this is just over-analyzing things, but it seriously didn't jive with me. In fact, I am curious as to what his collection entails, so maybe I should go if/when it opens. Something else that bothered me about the video was the numerous slides of Shadow of the Colossus. Yes, this is a great game but it's always brought up as such an ARTSY FARTSY game. It feels like using multiple images of this game is trying to prove how super artsy and amazing this place will be, but they don't even have the imagination to come up with something else to show. 

It seems like the people involved in this project are terribly unfocused. They also estimate the cost for their first year to be $25,000. Hell no, it won't be that cheap, especially if they are able to roll out classes and get their crazy internet connection they want. Are they dreaming? I know that living in the freaking Bay Area is expensive as hell and so I can only assume opening up a storefront in San Francisco would be terribly pricey without any extra features at all. One might assume they'd get revenue from people visiting the museum, but if it is only 1000 square feet who is going to pay to visit that? I want a fully featured museum experience, not some cramped place I assume would be filled with hipster kids who don't even really understand what's going on. 

For some reason this post is making me feel like a crotchety old man but I swear that's not the case! Perhaps I'm just sore that they might open up a museum before I do in California. Mostly I think the problem is I expect them to fail spectacularly. Prove me wrong, MADE. 


Bryan Ochalla said...

Well, hell, if all you need to open a video game museum is an expansive collection, maybe I'll open my own -- in my basement. I wonder what i could charge? ;)

Just kidding. Like you, I'd love for there to be a video game museum on this coast, but I have a feeling the one mentioned in this post won't be it. Such an endeavor requires quite a bit more thought and planning -- and money -- I would imagine.

I guess we'll see soon enough...

Marcus said...

Haha, we could open Dueling Video Game Collection Basement Museums (DVGCBM for short)!

I'm pretty sure some sort of organization would have to do the setup for a museum. Or at least something along those lines as opposed to a couple people. But then, what do I know, this individual could be hugely driven. I kind of want to donate $5 just because and then swing by if it opens but dunno... In the case that the museum doesn't happen I wonder what happens to the money? :(

Bryan Ochalla said...

At this point, I would guess that the money you give to such an effort would be lost if the museum never opens, but I can't say that with any authority.

Anyway, like you said in your post, it'll be interesting to see what happens with all of this.

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