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A hero ventures through a maze of monsters and demons A still image from 'Demon Stalkers'
  • Goblins, Exploding Fists and Space Cadets

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    Posted on: 28/02/2015

    ACMI Collections staff have been fighting goblins, polishing their martial arts skills, having intergalactic adventures and confronting dystopian futures – all in the cause of preserving and making accessible some of the amazing heritage of Australasian computer games from the 1980s.

    As a partner in the Play It Again project, we’ve been collecting and documenting a unique collection of games published by a number of Australian and New Zealand producers.

    Goblins Exploding Fists Space Cadets Blog 01

    Image: Monster from Akalabeth: World of Doom (1980)

    In building a database of games donated to the project, and in linking this with other resources associated with the Oz gaming world of the 1980s - such as magazines and oral histories – we are also exploring new ways of documenting pop-cultural artefacts within their historic and social memory contexts.

    A web of (often complex) relationships can exist between a game and the game’s original source or inspiration, its different versions and sequels, its various releases for different playing platforms, its advertising and review literature, and the personal experiences and memories of players.

    Collating and making accessible this breadth of material - alongside the actual games themselves – provides a rich historical resource of interest not only for gaming enthusiasts, but also for historians, social researchers, cultural analysts, artists and the interested generalist.

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    Image: Space cadet under fire!

    The other major aim of the project is to generate versions of the games that can be played without the original gaming platform and equipment. While this poses some considerable technical challenges, if we can produce and make accessible “emulation” versions of the games that can be played via a web browser, we can extend the experience and enjoyment of 80s style gameplay to new generations of audiences.

    Maybe then we can get some help fighting those goblins!

    - Linda Connolly, Collections Access Officer

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