In September 2017, I had the opportunity to do a panel on video game history and preservation at Dragon Con in Atlanta. The convention was divided into several tracks, including one for video games, and I felt that I could offer my experience of writing about Sega over the years as something that might interest attendees. I had only anticipated 20-30 people, but to my surprise, almost 200 people showed up! The turnout far exceeded my expectation.
Seeing so many people there was truly motivating, especially the large number of younger fans that came. As I talked to the crowd about the need to embrace gaming history beyond buying a SNES Classic or playing MAME, it became clear to me just how many people genuinely care about preserving the legacy of the gaming industry. My presentation went through the problems faced by gaming historians and writers, most of whom are enthusiasts and aren’t paid for their efforts. I discussed such issues as the de-listing of digital-only games, which denies access to newcomers, and developers passing away before getting a chance to share their stories,
One particular row of listeners caught my eye: Sandwiched between a girl with cat ears and a boy with an Iron Man mask were two adults who were at least my age. At first, I thought they were the children’s parents, but it turned out that they were historians who were also into video games! Both were Ph.Ds. One was from England, and the other was a document researcher from right there in Atlanta. Neither were directly involved in gaming history or preservation, but they were very intrigued by the topic and eager to learn more.
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