“National Videogame Museum is a lost opportunity”

This letter sent to the Star was written by Peter Sephton, Sheffield, S3

Tuesday, 23rd April 2019, 10:05 am
Updated Thursday, 25th April 2019, 7:49 am
Sheffield, the heart of Yorkshire

In i-weekend newspaper, April 13-14, an article, Steel the spotlight, was an excellent promotion of Sheffield as a city holiday destination. However the new National Videogame Museum is described as “feeling like something of a lost opportunity’. Where have we heard that before?

The short-lived National Centre for Popular Music, a great concept given to the wrong people to develop and now part of Hallam University’s student union.

It was thinly populated with cheap quirky ideas that had little relevance to the UK’s vast pop music history.

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When offered free memorabilia from famous British bands, the offer was scorned with “This isn’t that kind of museum”.

It opened, everyone went, thought it was pathetic and it quickly closed.

Did anyone visit the Cleveland Rock’n Roll Hall of Fame? It’s a huge international attraction and ours should have been a great British success if done properly.

A classic example of how Sheffield has a good idea, then makes a mess of implementing it. List your own favourite cock-ups here.

Clearly i-weekend thinks that the National Videogame museum is also missing its market and from my first two visits taking friends, they seem to agree.

i-weekend says ‘it’s great fun, a big open space full of classic arcade games… but the curatorial side is sorely lacking, what could have been an exploration of gaming’s history and cultural impact is sacrificed on the altar of interactivity’.

My guests would agree that the gigantic world of videogames is simply represented by a room full of, video games. But that’s only part of what a museum does. The other, more difficult part, is to explain why and how this product developed, where it is created, who plays most, which are the most popular games, UK involvement, sales volumes worldwide… and more.

Whoever is in charge of the National Videogame Museum must get their act together quickly if we are not to have another National Centre for Popular Music failure.