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Film Archive seeks 1980s games fans


Film Archive seeks 1980s games fans

Do you remember playing Space Invaders or Galaga down at the fish and chip shop on Friday nights? The Film Archive is collaborating with Flinders University of South Australia on their “Play It Again” project, which aims to remember and preserve New Zealand and Australian video games of the 1980s. The Archive seeks 1980s games fans, programmers and collectors who are able to share memories, information, games or documentation relating to games.

The digital future has a history and it needs remembering. Vital human and technical data is in danger of being lost. In the 1980s the New Zealand and Australian software industries were remarkably active in the production of digital games, yet little is known about this chapter in the history of the moving image.

The “Play It Again” project team’s goals are twofold.

Firstly, they wish to fill in a history of gaming culture in New Zealand and Australia during this period. This is where your memories come in.

Secondly, they are working to collect and preserve the games themselves. The Film Archive is also interested in photographs, video footage, magazines or other documentation featuring the games.

The “Play It Again” project is working on a migration solution that will enable playable versions of the collected games on modern portable devices.

“We’re keen to retell that history of what it was like to play games in the ‘80s in New Zealand and what sort of games they enjoyed the most,” says archivist Shane Farrow, who is overseeing the research at the Film Archive. “We’d love to hear from people who collect the retro games or who were gamers in the ‘80s. We’d also love to hear from programmers, who wrote what we call ‘home brew’ - who did their own versions of games.”

“When the Apple II came into schools students learnt how to use basic programming language and their maths teachers would often encourage them to start creating basic code. And what did they do? They always created games.”

Along with Flinders University and the Film Archive, the following organisations are contributing to the “Play It Again” project: Victoria University of Wellington, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the Berlin Computerspiele Museum.

The Film Archive would love to hear from members of the public who have information, games, photographs or documentation relating to games to share. Please contact the “Play It Again” project at


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