Monday I spent the evening at the PC Museum (in Brantford), where I volunteer. The Museum is worth a little bit of traffic, so indulge me as I give it a free plug here.
What drew me to the Museum, aside from being unemployed and looking for a profitable use of free time, was the immense wealth of old machine the Museum collects. Not just old PCs, but old peripherals, old advertisements, and old games. If you’ve been playing PC games as long as I have, you’ve probably lost hope too, of ever playing those old gems again.
Inevitably, playing the games proved more satisfying than programming them. The PC Museum caters nicely to this odd niche, preserving in working order showroom versions of some of the most venerable machines ever built. Favorites like the IBM XT 5150, the Commodore 64, and more versions of Apple PCs than you can shake of floppy at (up, wait, bad idea). The website also hints at the innumerable number of games that lie buried on the Museum’s shelves. Just browsing I’ve already found the Ancient Art of War at Sea and the Dr. Radiaki! Who’s even heard of those old-timers anymore?
The Museum is in some trouble – long term they may finally get their storage issues sorted out (as it has too much great stuff)! That could end up saving them some money on storage, rent, and even hydro. In the short term, they are looking to draw attention to some upcoming fundraisers. They left a choice hanging in the volunteer meeting, so I’ll not say more about it until the choice is made. As a standby, if you have money lying around, the Museum will thank you for sponsoring a machine dear to your memory.
But I do want to draw attention to the following: the PC Museum will be on a feature with Marc Saltzburg for Canada AM on October 25th at 7:45 am. Well, Sid told me 7:45, but the web announcement calls for 7-8am; I’d just as soon watch the whole thing to avoid missing it. There is also the Technology and Electronics Show at the Western Fairgrounds coming up in London, Ontario on November 16th and 17th. If anyone wants to know more about the PC Museum, Sid Bolton, the man with the plan behind this whole thing will be there that Saturday. The next open house is Saturday November 10th, when the doors of at 13 Alma Street, Brantford Ontario are flung wide open for guests. Drop-offs are also accepted every Monday 6:30 to 9:00pm, and one can always ask Sid if they can browse the museum on those days. It’s another thing entirely when all of the machines are off, though, so aim for the Saturdays.
There aren’t too many people out there focusing on preservation of gaming. Just from my own web browsing there's The Video Game Museum, who seem to offer pictures, and your guess is as good as mine what else. I also found a Preservation Group of the Internation Game Developers Association. They have full thematically curated web exhibits. Neat! The PC Museum still offers a well curated space for exploring the old timers of PC design and game design. Anyone with an interest in PC and gaming history in near range should give it a look, as it really is a amazing effort.