ACMI, The Powerhouse, and the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) have joined up to announce the official acquisition of House House’s Untitled Goose Game, which will be preserved in these institutions as recognition of its cultural relevance and importance to Australian video games history. According to a press release, the acquisition will allow these teams to preserve the game using specialist skills and methods that will keep it playable for decades to come.
It’s just the latest in a long line of local and international video games being collected across Australia in an effort to better understand and record the growth of the industry. Games have not been well-preserved in the past – but with the medium now entering the mainstream entertainment space, they’ve become essential artefacts of entertainment history.
They also represent a booming local industry that’s expected to be worth AU $4.9 billion by 2025, according to PwC. The work of ACMI, the NFSA and The Powerhouse will ensure the legacy of Untitled Goose Game, and other great video games, is remembered.
In addition to the game itself, the organisations will acquire various creative development materials, documentation, and earlier versions of the project to ‘illustrate how ideas for the game formed’.
‘Untitled Goose Game is a locally made, globally played sensation that all Victorians can be proud of. This initiative recognises the cultural significance of games as an artform, safeguards Untitled Goose Game for future generations, and celebrates the success of the talented team behind it,’ Steve Dimopoulos, Victoria’s Minister for Creative Industries said of the initiative.
ACMI Acting Director and CEO Graham Jephcott was equally hopeful about the future of the local games industry, and how preservation can allow a deeper understanding of modern culture.
‘While a film canister can last at least 70 years, a hard disk is lucky to last seven years without intervention,’ Jephcott said. ‘This joint acquisition with NFSA and the Powerhouse will enable us to preserve, play, research and understand the cultural importance of Untitled Goose Game long into the future.’
House House Co-Director Michael McMaster, while humbled by the request, was hopeful about the future of video game preservation, and the growing understanding of their relevance.
‘As game developers the question of video games’ longevity and fragility is important to us, so we were surprised and grateful when these institutions offered to collect Untitled Goose Game,’ McMaster said. ‘We’re glad to know that it will not only be playable for years to come, but that an understanding of its development process and cultural context can also be preserved.’
In future, expect to see Untitled Goose Game and other Australian video games proudly on display at local museums and cultural institutions. Video games history is worth celebrating, and it’s fantastic to see local successes finally getting the recognition they deserve.