Interactive video game museum may soon open doors

The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment will offer space for visitors to participate in multi-player games. Gil Riego Jr. / special to Xpress

Dinosaur bones, prehistoric tools and paintings fill museums around the world, but now those artifacts may have to make way for a new medium.

The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment project is attempting to raise funds and secure a location in San Francisco to display interactive games in order for people to learn about and play video games.

“We want to give the community a place to go and communicate with each other and hang out socially and exchange ideas and learn about video games in ways they maybe hadn’t before,” said Alex Handy, founder and director of MADE.

The idea started when Handy found an unreleased Atari game at a flea market in Oakland.

“I got to wondering what would happen to this stuff after I go on and I decided I should make a video game museum,” Handy said.

The museum will focus on the creativity and artistry behind the creation of video games and include games from Handy’s collection as well as donors. Demos, which are program graphics in the form of five-minute music videos done in programming code, will also be featured. Handy wants the museum to offer video game programming classes, summer camp and LAN parties, which involve setting up a local area network in order for people to gather with their computers and play multi-player games together.

“One of our core principles is making everything playable,” Handy said.

Isaiah Taylor, 22, an automotive student at Skyline College, said he would be willing to pay the museum a visit.

“But if it was about new games and had an arcade, I would go,” Taylor said.

SF State freshman and criminal justice major Kristen Keene, 19, said she would definitely go to the MADE museum.

“I think it’d be pretty cool,” Keene said. “It would be awesome if it was interactive and showed history. And if we got to test out new games possibly.”

The museum is still in developmental stages, but organization has earned $20,000 from fundraising for the project, with many donations coming through their website at themade.org.

The next step is designing the physical space for the exhibits.

“We can do a 3D model and all the architect stuff and plan out exactly what we can do for the space and go to videogame donors,” Handy said.

MADE still needs to raise more money for the project, but Handy has ideas to gain revenue.

“We have to raise more money and that’s difficult,” Handy said.

However, he is optimistic that his vision will soon come to fruition.

“We’re fairly confident,” Handy said. “The space is in the basement of the Hearst building. The price and space are wonderful, a block from MOMA and near cable cars. And the current owners of the space hate night clubs and the only other person looking at that space is a night club.”

It will take six months to sign the lease for the space if it is secured. Until then, the MADE project wants to collect funds to detail the plans for the museum.

“We’ll have more information tacked down at the end of April,” Handy said. “It’s certainly time for videogames to be heralded as the artistic works that they are and it’s certainly time for a video game museum in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

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