National Videogame Museum set for expansion six months since opening in Sheffield

It's all systems go for the National Videogame Museum as they look back over the last six months, but also look forward to the future and what is next for gaming fanatics in Sheffield.

By Alana Roberts
Wednesday, 29 May, 2019, 09:01
Conor Clarke, marketing and communications officer, pictured taking a closer look at the gaming on the move, section of the exhibition 'Playthings', a large display of Videogame objects , ephemera and artifacts, that reflect gaming culture in the UK and worldwide. Picture: Marie Caley

The BGI, the national agency for games modelled on the British Film Institute, opened its headquarters at the Sheffield Kollider - a hub for creative and technology industries in the former Co-op Castle House in Castlegate – in November.

Since the move from their previous base in Nottingham, the team have been working to bring the culture of videogames to the city, allowing visitors to explore a range of games on various platforms.

Haadiya Mustafa, Gallery Crew member, pictured taking a closer look at the Street Fighter v Mortal Combat section of the exhibition 'Playthings', a large display of videogame objects , ephemera and artifacts, that reflect gaming culture in the UK and worldwide. Picture: Marie Caley

With over 90 different games, the museum has been a hit with both ‘retro gamers’ and children alike.

It celebrates games from the past, present and future and also looks at independent game makers – especially those from Sheffield who are showcased in the ‘you are here’ section.

Museum marketing manager Conor Clarke, said: “The funny thing about gaming is that a lot of people have lived through it. We invite people to come in and sit with our exhibits, celebrate the gaming culture and take time to interact with the games.

“Some of our games have a lot of significance for people, for example our BBC Micro. Many people can remember using them at school and it is part of our creation station where people can have a go at creating their own game.”

Ryan Johnson and Finley Cocker, both nine, pictured trying out Platform 14, one of two new exhibits currently on at the National Videogame Museum. Picture: Marie Caley

However, the last six months have not been without there obstacles.

“We also invite people to explore the critical and deep-dive side of games instead of the chronology of gaming through the times,” Conor added.

“Some people have been critical of that and we’re gutted about that but we’re listening to what people say and are growing and taking on board the criticisms. We are constantly building, evolving and changing.

“Our philosophy is that we’re a live museum and we want to offer our visitors something new every week.”

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The National Videogame Museum. Picture: Marie Caley

As part of their expansion, the NVM – who recently became a registered charity – have launched two exhibits, Platform 14: Donkey Kong and Playthings.

Platform 14: Donkey Kong, is an exploration of the phenomenon of ‘porting’ – a term used when a game is designed to run on one platform – a videogame, with 14 different playable versions of Nintendo’s 1981 classic Donkey Kong.

Whereas Playthings is an expansion of the current gaming objects and artifacts that reflect gaming culture in the UK and worldwide.

Iain Simons, for the NVM, said “These are the first big steps in getting our new interpretation programme moving. Platform 14 is an ambitious new exhibition that we really hope our visitors are going to love. We’re looking forward to finding out what the NVM visitors favourite version is going to be.”

Gallery crew member Haadiya Mustafa, pictured taking a closer look at the 'Playthings' exhibiiton. Picture: Marie Caley

The team are also working within the community, with groups such as Sheffield Pride and schools across the city, to expand their resources and open up gaming to a wider audience.

Freddie Cocker, seven, pictured having a go on Trap Adventure 2. Picture: Marie Caley
The National Videogame Museum. Picture: Marie Caley
The National Videogame Museum. Picture: Marie Caley
The National Videogame Museum. Picture: Marie Caley
Staff members Sonia Khan, educational research assistant, Haadiya Mustafa, Gallery Crew, Conor Clarke, marketing and communications officer and Lizzie Peters, finance officer, pictured by the Super Snowball Fight Party, a game created by one of their engineers. Picture: Marie Caley